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Google Assistant is coming to headphones from JBL, LG, and Sony

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As part of a series of news announced today by Google, wireless headphones made to work especially with Google Assistant are on the way from brands like JBL, Sony, and LG. Up until today, some of the only headphones optimized for Google Assistant were the Bose QuietComfort 35 II and Pixel Buds, Google's first-ever wireless headphones. Also announced today: Google Assistant is coming to a series of new smart speakers -- including some with visual touchscreen displays -- and Google Assistant will become the assistant for Android Auto. Google Assistant can be accessed through any pair of wired or wireless headphones connected to an Android device, but headphones with this kind of integration allow access the AI assistant without the need to open your phone. With the touch of a button on the side of the headphones, you can speak directly with Google Assistant to do things like create calendar events, make phone calls, and receive auditory push notifications.


The Schlage Sense smart deadbolt is getting Google Assistant support

PCWorld

One of our favorite smart locks is getting even smarter. Schlage announced today that Google Assistant control is coming to its Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt. Using Google Assistant on Google Home or iOS or Android smartphones, you'll be able to lock the deadbolt by saying, "OK Google, lock my door." If your OCD kicks in and you can't remember if you locked up, you can ask "OK Google, is my door locked?" The Google Assistant capabilities will require the Schlage Sense Wi-Fi Adapter ($70) to get remote access to the lock.


Amazon's Alexa wants to learn more about your feelings

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Amazon's Alexa team is beginning to analyze the sound of users' voices to recognize their mood or emotional state, Alexa chief scientist Rohit Prasad told VentureBeat. Doing so could let Amazon personalize and improve customer experiences, lead to lengthier conversations with the AI assistant, and even open the door to Alexa one day responding to queries based on your emotional state or scanning voice recordings to diagnose disease. Tell Alexa that you're happy or sad today and she can deliver a pre-programmed response. In the future, Alexa may be able to pick up your mood without being told. The voice analysis effort will begin by teaching Alexa to recognize when a user is frustrated.


Samsung to build new lab for machine learning research

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Samsung made the announcement in a Korean press release this week. The company told Reuters it will be operating the research lab as a joint venture between two of its businesses. Samsung's mobile and consumer electronics arms will both use the facility to help develop new technologies. Samsung's use of AI was fairly limited until earlier this year. The launch of the company's Bixby digital assistant marked Samsung's intentions to gain a position in consumer AI, an increasingly competitive segment of the technology market.


AI Weekly: There are more pressing problems than god-like AI

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A religion based around artificial intelligence is in the news again, this time helmed by Anthony Levandowski, a former member of Google's self-driving car team. His argument is that humans will eventually create AI that is more intelligent than we are, making it functionally god-like, so we might as well start planning for that eventuality. His thinking about the rise of super intelligent machines runs parallel to that of Elon Musk, who has been trumpeting the risks of artificial superintelligence on Twitter and in public appearances. But while talking about an AI god grabs headlines, we have more pressing problems to consider. The AI experts I get to speak with aren't concerned about an artificial superintelligence suddenly cropping up in the next few months and taking over the world.


press-release-content?type=webcontent&articleId=1892992

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DALLAS TEXAS, Nov. 2, 2017 – AI-powered voice assistants are changing the way we live. Hundreds of millions of people use these assistants regularly to check the weather, wake up on time, and find their way around town. Yet there have been no virtual assistants to help us at work-- until now. Today at Cisco Partner Summit, we announce Cisco Spark Assistant. It is the world's first enterprise-ready voice assistant for meetings.


Google Assistant for Android now supports Spanish and Italian

Engadget

Google announced today that its virtual assistant will now support two new languages -- Spanish for users in the US, Mexico and Spain as well as Italian for those in Italy. These languages will be rolling out over the next few weeks, according to Google, and while initially they'll only be available for Android, the company says iPhone support will be released later this year. With these additions, Google Assistant now supports a total of eight languages -- including English, Portuguese, French, German, Japanese and Korean -- in 12 countries around the world. While that puts Google's virtual assistant in line with Microsoft's Cortana, which also supports eight languages, ahead of Amazon's Alexa, which only supports German and a few versions of English, and ahead of Samsung's Bixby, which supports just English and Korean, it's still well behind Apple's Siri. Apple's assistant currently supports 20 languages -- quite a few more than any of its counterparts.


Nuance Nina Earns Industry Accolades for Innovation in Artificial Intelligence

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Nuance was honored alongside customers FedEx and IP Australia, with partner Datacom, for delivering notable customer experiences through natural language understanding, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. These recent wins come on the heels of Nuance Nina gaining recognition from leading global research firms including being ranked #1 among virtual assistant vendors in Forrester's Chatbot Vendor Ranking* and receiving the highest combined rating among virtual assistant vendors in Opus Research's "Decision Makers' Guide to Enterprise Intelligent Assistants. Nuance was honored alongside customers FedEx and IP Australia, with partner Datacom, for delivering notable customer experiences through natural language understanding, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. These recent wins come on the heels of Nuance Nina gaining recognition from leading global research firms including being ranked #1 among virtual assistant vendors in Forrester's Chatbot Vendor Ranking* and receiving the highest combined rating among virtual assistant vendors in Opus Research's "Decision Makers' Guide to Enterprise Intelligent Assistants.


NAB pilots new Talk to NAB platform through Google Assistant

ZDNet

The National Australia Bank (NAB) has announced the launch of its voice-activated Talk to NAB offering, allowing customers to ask basic banking questions such as how to replace a lost card or reset their password. In order to use the Talk to NAB function, customers will require a Google Home device or the Google Assistant on a compatible smartphone, as well as a data connection. "Whilst at the moment you can talk to it, chat with it online, we'd love for you to be able to use your voice to activate it, to ask it questions, as our business customers are driving around," NAB executive general manager of business transformation Anne Bennett said at the time. For the first half of the 2017 financial year, NAB reported AU$2.55 billion in after-tax profit -- a 246.1 percent turnaround from the AU$1.74 billion loss reported last year.


How Sonos Made Amazon's Alexa Sound Amazing

WIRED

But when Sonos started working on integrating Alexa into its multi-room wireless music system a year and a half ago, though, that setup posed a problem. Alongside the new speaker, Sonos also announced today that by 2018 it will support both Google Assistant and AirPlay 2, allowing Sonos users to query Google, use Siri to control their speakers, and to stream tracks from their iPhones. Sonos could have built an Alexa skill to let you control volume, change songs, and hear everything through your Sonos speakers. And so while Sonos improved its speakers, Amazon worked on making Alexa an even better DJ.