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Microsoft's takeover of voice recognition firm under scrutiny


The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is understood to have raised questions with Microsoft and quizzed customers and rivals about its takeover of Nuance Communications. Microsoft is yet to file with the regulator, which would have 40 working days to consider whether to launch an in-depth investigation. The deal has been cleared by US and Australian authorities while the European Commission has also been hearing from rivals - it is expected to give the green light in the coming days. Nuance is best known for providing the original speech recognition system behind Siri, Apple's virtual assistant. Its transcription software is widely used in the NHS to cut down on note taking and became more crucial during the pandemic by allowing doctors to keep protective equipment on. Its software also powers automated systems such as bots used to answer questions about coronavirus vaccines.

The AI Index 2021 Annual Report Artificial Intelligence

Welcome to the fourth edition of the AI Index Report. This year we significantly expanded the amount of data available in the report, worked with a broader set of external organizations to calibrate our data, and deepened our connections with the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence (HAI). The AI Index Report tracks, collates, distills, and visualizes data related to artificial intelligence. Its mission is to provide unbiased, rigorously vetted, and globally sourced data for policymakers, researchers, executives, journalists, and the general public to develop intuitions about the complex field of AI. The report aims to be the most credible and authoritative source for data and insights about AI in the world.

Employees urged to turn off smart speakers while working from home during the coronavirus

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Tech companies are known to listen in on private conversation via its smart speakers in order to'improve voice-recognition features.' Now that millions of people are currently working home due to the coronavirus outbreak, employers are urging their stuff to power down the technology in order to keep it from listening to confidential phone calls. Mishcon de Reya LLP, the UK law firm that advised Princess Diana on her divorce, advised staff to mute or shut off listening devices like Amazon's Alexa or Google's voice assistant when they talk about client matters at home, according to a partner at the firm. Video products such as Ring and baby monitors are also on the list of devices to be away of while working from home, as first reported on by Bloomberg. Mishcon de Reya LLP, the UK law firm that advised Princess Diana on her divorce, advised staff to mute or shut off listening devices like Amazon's Alexa or Google's voice assistant when they talk about client matters at home Mishcon de Reya partner Joe Hancock, who also heads the firm's cybersecurity efforts, told Bloombger: 'Perhaps we're being slightly paranoid but we need to have a lot of trust in these organizations and these devices.' 'We'd rather not take those risks.'

Does Amazon have answers for the future of the NHS?

The Guardian

Enthusiasts predicted the plan would relieve the pressure on hard-pressed GPs. Critics saw it as a sign of creeping privatisation and a data-protection disaster in waiting. Reactions to news last month that Amazon's voice-controlled digital assistant Alexa was to begin using NHS website information to answer health queries were many and varied. US-based healthcare tech analysts say the deal is just the latest of a series of recent moves that together reveal an audacious, long-term strategy on the part of Amazon. From its entry into the lucrative prescription drugs market and development of AI tools to analyse patient records, to Alexa apps that manage diabetes and data-driven experiments on how to cut medical bills, the $900bn global giant's determination to make the digital disruption of healthcare a central part of its future business model is becoming increasingly clear.

Nuance artificial intelligence speech recognition helps digitise the NHS


Nearly half of NHS trusts (43%; obtained from a Freedom of Information (FoI) request) are investing in artificial intelligence (AI) enabling patients to'self-help' when accessing services. The trusts are harnessing technology such as virtual assistants, speech recognition technology and chat bots to ease the pressure on healthcare workers across their organisations. These vital investments are geared up to primarily provide access to information and services all-day, every-day, but they also play a key role in reducing the numbers of patients queuing to see their GP for information they can now access through a virtual assistant. Research commissioned by Nuance in 2015 into the impact of clinical documentation in NHS acute care trusts revealed that clinicians spend over half of their work day on clinical documentation. In a more recent Nuance study of UK GP practices, over nine in 10 reported that patient documentation was a considerable burden for their practice and that in 49 per cent of the practices, over half their patient documentation is paper versus electronic format.