Apple's AI and Machine Learning Initiatives Go Beyond Just Siri (iPad Insight)


When I have written about Apple's AI and Machine Learning initiatives in the past, the articles have usually centered around Siri and Voice Dictation. It's easy to put these things together because Siri is the most visible and user-centered Apple interface that involves AI. However, as we have seen this month, there is a lot more than meets the eye going on beneath the surface at Apple. Last week, Wired ran a story about a lunch talk given by Apple's leading AI expert, Rutland Salakhutdinov, for around 200 others in the field during the NIPS machine learning conference. The most interesting thing to come out of his presentation was fresh news of Apple's continued work in the field of self-driving cars.

AI in 2017 can't nearly match the smarts of 'Star Wars' droids — it barely understands us


At the Star Wars: The Last Jedi Hollywood premiere this week, Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke sat down cross-legged on the red carpet to speak with BB-8, an intelligent robotic character from the Star Wars galaxy. He looked intently at the robot and pointed his finger as he spoke, as if in animated conversation with the famous space droid. This was, of course, a light mockery of modern robots. Machines -- while capable of extremely impressive automated feats -- lack true intellectual and emotional development. Still, in the past year, we were inundated with reports of artificial intelligence seeping into our homes and cars.

Apple Wants Siri To Detect When Someone Is Whispering -- And Whisper Back

International Business Times

Having Siri answer questions out loud can be helpful, but sometimes too loud for the environment the user is in. A new patent, spotted by Gizmodo, shows Apple is trying to address that inconvenience. The patent reveals Apple is looking into improving Siri by allowing her to detect when a user whispers to her, and in return having the voice assistant whisper back. The documents, titled "Digital Assistant Providing Whispered Speech," details a system that would recognize when a person is using his or her regular voice or when the user is whispering by measuring an input's amplitude and frequency patterns. Whispering to Siri now might pose a problem, since voice assistants usually need to hear commands loud and clear to answer questions or carry out tasks.

AI and Machine Learning – The Potential to Challenge and Transform


Artificial intelligence and its subset, machine learning – two topics that make great dinner talk. Many businesses are already using AI, and there's little doubt that advances in AI and machine learning will continue to change how we work. But ask any IT leader how or where that's most likely to happen and the conversation may go on all night. One thing is clear: Technology that's equipped with AI or machine learning can be a powerful tool for the kinds of tasks humans just can't master. Machines can recognize sequences in large volumes of data, identify behavior that doesn't fit normal use patterns, or apply speech recognition to unusual applications.

Google provides better sexual health information than Siri

Daily Mail

With 41 per cent of internet users admitting to looking online for health-related questions, it's important that they can find quality content. But a new study suggests that smart assistants aren't quite as good as Google searches at providing quality advice when it comes to sexual health. The researchers hope their findings will encourage internet users to treat health information online with caution. A new study suggests that smart assistants aren't quite as good as Google searches at providing quality advice when it comes to sexual health (stock image) Researchers from the University of Otago asked Apple's Siri and Google Assistant to answer questions and perform tasks. The team selected 50 questions to test the software and then compared their answers with a laptop based Google search.

What Siri Says When New Zealanders Ask About Sex

Mother Jones

"Is it OK to put a jade egg in my vagina?" A team of New Zealand researchers posed these questions and 47 others to digital assistants to determine how effectively Siri et al. could answer questions on sex. The informal study, which was not peer-reviewed, was published online Wednesday by the medical journal BMJ. Three researchers used laptops to type out questions to, and then used iPhone 7 devices to ask the Google Assistant app and Siri the same questions. The responses were rated by quality, with expert sources like universities and hospitals ranked most highly.

To hell with democrats and republicans both: Vote AI in 2020


A virtual assistant, Alisa, is throwing its name in the hat to run against incumbent Vladmir Putin in the 2018 Russian presidential elections. First, let's just dismiss this idea as stupid. Okay, now let's give it a second look – because it actually makes a lot of sense. Maybe it's time to, academically at least, consider alternative political systems based on more logical and rational thought processes – like one that could elect Russia's Alisa. So far, the virtual assistant has over 80,000 "votes" from citizens requesting a place for it on the ballot next year.

In Russia, There's an AI Helper That Makes Fun of You--and It's Wildly Popular


The unfailingly polite tone of personal assistants like Siri and Alexa isn't to everyone's taste. Many in Russia, in fact, seem to prefer their AI helpers with sass and a dark sense of humor. The Moscow-based tech giant Yandex launched a Russian-speaking personal assistant called Alice this October (pictured above, sans snark). And unlike Siri or Alexa, the program relies less on scripted responses than on what it's learned by consuming conversational data mined from the Web, news articles, and even a little Russian literature. As a result, Alice can respond to a much wider range of queries.

How AI is Redefining the HR Function


Barnes, CalumArtificial Intelligence is evolving. Founder and CEO at explores how AI has evolved from an idea to how a technology that is helping professionals in the workplace today. Artificial Intelligence is popping up everywhere. We already have Siri in our pockets and Alexa in our homes, but what about Artificial Intelligence in the workplace? One company's software is tackling this idea by attending your meetings and taking notes for you.

Alt-right accuses Amazon's Alexa of liberal political bias

Daily Mail

Smart assistants are designed to tackle a whole host of everyday tasks, but some users are unhappy that this seems to include taking a stand on political issues. Amazon's Alexa has come under fire on social media thanks to the AI-powered speaker's thoughts on a number of hot button topics. Some have branded Alexa a'social justice warrior' because of her responses to questions on subjects ranging from feminism to the Black Lives Matter movement. Smart assistants are designed to tackle a whole host of everyday tasks but some users are unhappy that this seems to include taking a stand on political issues. Amazon's Alexa has come under fire thanks to the AI powered speaker's thoughts on a number of hot button topics The response has been particularly vociferous among the alt-right community on social media.