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BBC launches voice assistant that will learn regional accents

Mashable

It's a highly frustrating moment talking to a voice assistant that doesn't understand your regional accent. But a new voice assistant launched by the BBC will learn UK regional accents to ensure you don't have to attempt to alter your accent in order to be understood. That voice assistant is called Beeb -- a nod to the BBC's nickname -- and it's just been released in beta form for a select group of users to try out. Those users are UK-based members of Microsoft's Windows Insider Programme, a group of early adopters who test new tech and suggest improvements. Beeb can play BBC radio, music, podcasts, news, and weather.


AI or human lyrics: Could you tell which is which?

ZDNet

We pride ourselves on identifying when we are talking to a chatbot instead of a human operator, but it seems that when it comes to song lyrics, many of us are not so certain which is which. Although Artificial Intelligence (AI) seems to have become the new darling of the tech world, could it outperform humans in more creative fields, like music? Secondary event ticket marketplace TickPick recently collected over than 1,000 rock, hip-hop/rap, country, and pop songs to train "AI artists." It surveyed 1,003 people using Amazon's Machanical Turk to rank creativity, emotionality, and favorability of the lyrics. It also wanted to discover how easy or difficult it was to tell the difference between famous songwriters and AI lyrics. It scraped thousands of song lyrics from genius.com to form a lyrical corpus.


COVID-19 has permanently changed shopping behavior

ZDNet

This TechRepublic Premium ebook compiles the latest on cancelled conferences, cybersecurity attacks, remote work tips, and the impact this pandemic is having on the tech industry. Every two weeks, Salesforce Research is surveying the general population to discover how consumers and the workforce are navigating the COVID-19 pandemic. Research results and insights are publicly available via interactive Tableau dashboards. The data is updated every two weeks and can be segmented in multiple ways -- geography, industry, generation, income, gender, and more. Salesforce surveyed over 3,500 consumers across the globe to understand how their shopping behaviors, needs, and expectations have been reshaped over the past several months and their outlooks for the future.


Banks and insurers expect 86% rise in AI tech investment by 2025

#artificialintelligence

Banks and insurance firms are planning to increase their artificial intelligence-related investment into technology by 2025, according to research from The Economist Intelligence Unit. The report, commissioned by AI-analytics and search firm ThoughtSpot, surveyed 200 business executives and c-suite leaders at investment banks, retail banks and insurance companies in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific. It found that while a large majority (86 per cent) of respondents had a strong degree of confidence in the benefits of AI to shape the future of financial institutions, more than half of respondents said the technology was not yet in use in the business' processes and offerings, with just 15 per cent saying the technology is used extensively across the organisation. However, despite relatively low levels of implementation, the research found that many institutions are beginning to invest in AI over the next five years, with 27 per cent saying it will spur new products and services, a quarter believing it will open up new markets or industries and the same amount saying it is paving the way for innovation in their industry. Looking to the future, 29 per cent of respondents expect between 51 per cent and 75 per cent of their workloads to be supported by AI technologies in five years' time, as processes become increasingly automated.


Artificial intelligence poses a threat to American office workers - digitalhub Feed Leader

#artificialintelligence

Fifty-three percent of U.S. office workers worry their current skills will be outdated in fewer than five years, according to new research. The study asked 2,000 American office workers about their skills and how they wish to improve them in an evolving technological world. And results revealed nearly nine in 10 respondents said they would feel more secure in their jobs if their employer offered them training opportunities. Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of UiPath, the survey found that 78% of respondents said they would be more productive at their jobs if they could learn new skills. Eighty-six percent of those surveyed said they wish their employer offered opportunities to acquire new skills -- while 83% would like to enhance their current skills.


Between hope and hype

#artificialintelligence

But also: 'AI will deepen my research and bring it a step further than it is now.' There is a wide range of opinions. Nevertheless, four out of five Dutch scientists foresee that AI will have a considerable impact on society. Two thirds also believe that AI will have a radical impact on science. The figures come from a survey that the editorial board of Research commissioned among researchers in various disciplines at Dutch knowledge institutions.


Best Practices For Businesses To Adopt Artificial Intelligence Amid Crisis

#artificialintelligence

The dependency on automation has accelerated due to COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore companies are relying on emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to have business continuity amid this crisis. AI and ML are not only transforming the way businesses operate, but also providing a massive opportunity for companies to gain a competitive advantage. However, due to several reasons – like lack of skilled talent and budget, along with an understanding of newer technologies – have created a host of barriers for enterprises to smoothly adopt artificial intelligence and machine learning for their organisations. In fact, according to a recent survey, approximately 50% of respondents reported that their organisations lack skilled talents to implement real AI.


Ethical implications of AI and the future of work

#artificialintelligence

As the future of work rapidly evolves, and organizations are integrating people, technology, alternative workforces, and new ways of working, leaders are wrestling with an increasing range of resulting ethical challenges. These challenges are especially pronounced at the intersection between humans and technology, where new questions have risen to the top of the ethics agenda about the impact of emerging technologies on workers and society. How organizations combine people and machines, govern new human-machine work combinations, and operationalize the working relationship between humans, teams, and machines will be at the center of how ethical concerns can be managed for the broadest range of benefits. Organizations that tackle these issues head-on--changing their perspective to consider not only "could we" but also "how should we"--will be well positioned to make the bold choices that help to build trust among all stakeholders. The Readiness Gap: Seventy-five percent of organizations say ethics related to the future of work are important or very important for their success over the next 12 to 18 months, but only 14 percent say they are very ready to address this trend.


Asia Leading in AI Business Deployment, Personalized Prediction to Combat COVID-19

#artificialintelligence

Asia is leading the pack in AI business deployment compared to less than a third for US companies. The adoption rate in the rest of the world remains low, as firms do not understand the deployment of AI¹ in their operations. The surveillance behavior of Chinese firms continues and contravenes privacy. MIT's decision to end its collaboration with iFlytek¹⁰ from China makes sense and will set the trend for other companies. Artificial intelligence does not have to hurt people but rather be ethical, responsible, and accountable.


Pandemic effect: How do consumers feel about AI right now?

ZDNet

From cancelled conferences to disrupted supply chains, not a corner of the global economy is immune to the spread of COVID-19. Consumer-facing AI and robotics applications have had an uphill battle, and they've had to wage it on two fronts. Regulation has, perhaps for the better, throttled adoption of technologies like self-driving cars and delivery robots, turning developers into lobbyists. At the same time, automation firms have had to win over wary consumers. It's hard in any normal environment to convince a preponderance of customers that ditching human customer service representatives, drivers, and cashiers for automated helpers is in everyone's best interest.