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How to build your own AI-powered voice assistant

#artificialintelligence

Ever wondered how Google assistant and Siri can speak with us exactly like humans. This is the magic of Deep Learning. So without wasting time let's jump directly to the topic. The above diagram will help you to get an overview of how the process happens inside the voice assistant. First I will explain each process in-depth and in the end, I will summarise the entire process with the help of an example.


McDonald's is replacing human drive-thru attendants with AI

#artificialintelligence

This article was originally published on our sister site, Freethink. As if drive-through ordering wasn't frustrating enough already, now we might have a Siri-like AI to contend with. McDonald's just rolled out a voice recognition system at 10 drive-throughs in Chicago, expanding from the solitary test store they launched a few years ago. But when will it come to your neighborhood Golden Arches? "There is a big leap between going from 10 restaurants in Chicago to 14,000 restaurants across the U.S. with an infinite number of promo permutations, menu permutations, dialect permutations, weather -- I mean, on and on and on and on," admitted McDonald's CEO Chris Kempczinski, reports Nation's Restaurant News.


Linux Foundation partners with Microsoft and Target to create standards for voice technology

ZDNet

The Linux Foundation is teaming up with companies like Target, Microsoft and Veritone to create the Open Voice Network, an initiative designed to "prioritize trust and standards" in voice-focused technology. Jon Stine, executive director of the Open Voice Network, told ZDNet that the rapid growth of both the availability and adoption of voice assistance worldwide -- and the future potential of voice as an interface and data source in an artificial intelligence-driven world -- makes it important for certain standards to be communally developed. Devices and applications are increasingly incorporating voice activation and navigation functions, and Mike Dolan, senior vice president at the Linux Foundation, said the network was a "proactive response to combating deep fakes in AI-based voice technology." "Voice is expected to be a primary interface to the digital world, connecting users to billions of sites, smart environments and AI bots. It is already increasingly being used beyond smart speakers to include applications in automobiles, smartphones and home electronics devices of all types. Key to enabling enterprise adoption of these capabilities and consumer comfort and familiarity is the implementation of open standards," Dolan said, adding that the organization was "excited to bring it under the open governance model of the Linux Foundation to grow the community and pave a way forward."


Voice Recognition Bakery Solution

#artificialintelligence

It seems that I am building a voice recognition system, but under the hood it's actually a chat bot. The voice part is just a chat interface because we need to covert the voice to text, then we write our algorithm to find the proper data and formulate to native response, and covert text to speech again. A chatbot is a program that communicate with you. The term "chatterbot" came in existence in 1994 when Michael Mauldin created his first chatbot named "Julia". It can be looked upon as a virtual assistant that communicates with users via text messages and helps businesses in getting close to their customers. It is a program designed to imitate the way humans communicate with each other.


Apple overhauls Siri to address privacy concerns and improve performance

The Guardian

Apple will no longer send Siri requests to its servers, the company has announced, in a move to substantially speed up the voice assistant's operation and address privacy concerns. The new feature comes two years after the Guardian revealed that Apple staff regularly heard confidential details while carrying out quality control for the feature. Apple's worldwide developers conference (WWDC) was told on Monday that, from this autumn onwards, when new versions of the company's operating systems are released, Siri will process audio "on device" – meaning that, for the majority of queries, no recording will need to be uploaded to Apple's servers. "With on-device speech recognition, the audio of users' requests is processed right on their iPhone or iPad by default," an Apple spokesperson said. "This addresses one of the biggest privacy concerns for voice assistants, which is unwanted audio recording. For many requests, Siri processing is also moving on device, enabling requests to be processed without an internet connection, such as launching apps, setting timers and alarms, changing settings or controlling music."


Make your house a smart home with this sale on Echo devices

Mashable

If you haven't added voice control to your smart home collection, now is a great time for some tech upgrades. As of June 3, Amazon has tons of Echo, Echo Dot, and Echo Show devices on sale to help you automate your entertainment, connect with loved ones, and control your other smart devices using your voice. Just think: the right smart speaker will let you call your mom, turn on some tunes, and adjust your smart lighting without ever leaving the couch or picking up your phone. With so many options, picking a smart speaker or smart home hub can seem daunting. If you're not quite sure which Echo device is right for your lifestyle, check out our Echo vs Echo dot comparison for a full breakdown, and read below to discover the current deals.


Mozilla expands effort to bring Kiswahili to voice assistants across 6 African countries

ZDNet

Devices and tools activated through speaking will soon be the primary way people interact with technology, yet none of the main voice assistants, including Amazon's Alexa, Apple's Siri and Google Assistant, support a single native African language. Mozilla has sought to address this problem through the Common Voice project, which is now working to expand voice technology to the 100 million people who speak Kiswahili across Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan. The open source project makes it easy for anyone to donate their voice to a publicly available database that can then be used to train voice-enabled devices, and over the past two years, more than 840 Rwandans have donated over 1,700 hours of voice data in Kinyarwanda, a language with over 12 million speakers. That voice data is now being used to help train voice chatbots with speech-to-text and text-to-speech functionality that has important information about COVID-19, according to Chenai Chair, special advisor for Africa Innovation at the Mozilla Foundation. A handful of major tech companies control the voice data that is currently used to train machine learning algorithms, posing a challenge for companies seeking to develop high-quality speech recognition technologies while also exacerbating the voice recognition divide between English speakers and the rest of the world.


How you can leverage machine learning to improve transcription services.

#artificialintelligence

It's no secret that voice recognition has advanced significantly since IBM introduced its first speech recognition machine in 1962. With voice-driven applications like Amazon's Alexa, Apple's Siri, Microsoft's Cortana, and many voice-responsive features of Google, voice recognition has become increasingly embedded in our daily lives as technology has evolved. Every new voice-interactive device we introduce into our lives, from phones to computers to watches to refrigerators, increases our reliance on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. Artificial intelligence is one disruptive technology that has altered the way valuable data is handled. When working with large analyzable sets of data, such as text, machine learning is thought to be at its best.


Google Fixes Two Annoying Quirks in Its Voice Assistant

WIRED

I'm not much of a cook, but the few times I've asked Google Assistant on my Nest Mini to start a timer in the kitchen have been hit or miss. All too often, the timer disappears into a void and Google can't tell me how many minutes are left. Other times, it takes multiple attempts to set it properly because Assistant struggled with understanding context. Those problems (and a few others) are about to be resolved. Google's latest update to its voice assistant, which begins rolling out today, greatly improves its contextual understanding when you're asking it to perform a task like setting an alarm or a timer.


Podcast: AI finds its voice

MIT Technology Review

Today's voice assistants are still a far cry from the hyper-intelligent thinking machines we've been musing about for decades. And it's because that technology is actually the combination of three different skills: speech recognition, natural language processing and voice generation. Each of these skills already presents huge challenges. In order to master just the natural language processing part? You pretty much have to recreate human-level intelligence. Deep learning, the technology driving the current AI boom, can train machines to become masters at all sorts of tasks. But it can only learn one at a time. And because most AI models train their skillset on thousands or millions of existing examples, they end up replicating patterns within historical data--including the many bad decisions people have made, like marginalizing people of color and women. Still, systems like the board-game champion AlphaZero and the increasingly convincing fake-text generator GPT-3 have stoked the flames of debate regarding when humans will create an artificial general intelligence--machines that can multitask, think, and reason for themselves. In this episode, we explore how machines learn to communicate--and what it means for the humans on the other end of the conversation. This episode was produced by Jennifer Strong, Emma Cillekens, Anthony Green, Karen Hao and Charlotte Jee.