This summer, as a Knight Visiting Nieman Fellow at Harvard, I've been looking at another technology I think could lead to a similar step change in how publishers relate to their audiences: AI-driven voice interfaces, such as Amazon's Alexa, Google's Home and Assistant, Microsoft's Cortana, and Apple's upcoming HomePod. The report gives some excellent insights into the broader AI landscape, including automation of content creation, data journalism through machine learning, robotic cameras, and media monitoring systems. Ha-Hoa Hamano, a senior product manager at NPR working on voice AI, described its hourly newscast as "the gateway to NPR's content." That's a broader lesson: "We have to think about what unique or exclusive information, content, or voice experience can The Washington Post specifically offer that the main Alexa interface can't."
Earlier this year, Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG), a pioneer in the AI revolution, revealed that it would launch Google Brain Toronto, the second such research facility in the Great White North. Amazon has revealed plans to build a new AI research hub in Barcelona, Spain, which will be located in the city's 22@ start-up district, and plans to hire more than 100 scientists and software engineers to staff the facility over time. Earlier this year the company expanded its research and development center in Cambridge, England, by adding a 60,000-square-foot facility to house over 400 "machine learning scientists, knowledge engineers, data scientists, mathematical modelers, speech scientists, and software engineers" according to a press release. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Alphabet (A shares), Alphabet (C shares), and Amazon.
South Park viewers were sent scrambling to unplug their Alexa and Google Home devices last night, after the show's 21st season premiere had their smart assistants setting alarms, creating shopping lists, and spewing obscenities. South Park viewers were sent scrambling to unplug their Alexa and Google Home devices last night, after the show's 21st season premiere had their smart assistants setting alarms, creating shopping lists, and spewing obscenities Google Home is continually listening for commands. Both the Google Home speakers and those cell phones that have the Google app's voice-activated function active are constantly listening for the phrase'OK Google'. Both the Google Home speakers and those cell phones that have the Google app's voice-activated function active are constantly listening for the phrase'OK Google' The stunt led to hilarious results, with many even claiming they'd been left with a shopping list that included'hairy b*lls' Voice-activated assistants have also raised concerns in recent months that they could be taken over and remotely controlled by hackers using inaudible commands.
Amazon is said to be working on two new Fire TV streaming devices. Basically, the device seems to look like a beefier version of Amazon's Echo Dot smart speaker. Like the Echo Dot, the new Fire TV set-top box will allow users to have hands-free Alexa interaction and control. As with the Amazon Echo Dot, this new Fire TV device has the same physical buttons on top for manually triggering Alexa, muting the microphone and for adjusting the built-in speakers' volume.
From the moment we humans first imagined having mechanical servants at our beck and call, we've assumed they would be constructed in our own image. A robot invasion of our homes is underway, but the machines -- so-called smart speakers like Amazon Echo, Google Home and the forthcoming Apple HomePod -- look nothing like what we expected. Although smart speakers have been around just three years, they already have a hold on us. Smart speakers are oracles of the countertop.
"We haven't come across any other interactive stories like this on voice devices, and we're excited to see how people respond to it." Rather, it claims to have built a platform that allows for the release of stories across other smart devices as well (heads up, HomePod). Played by Laurel Lefkow, the all-caps name suggests some sort of sentient bot destined to surveil and control every aspect of its owners' lives (sound familiar?). As you do, may we recommend you spend some time pondering what choice you'll make when presented with a totally sci-fi story of a smart bot living in your home, monitoring your every move.
A couple of weeks ago, a Samsung executive confirmed that the company is indeed developing its own smart connected speaker that will have Bixby on board. In a chat with The Korea Herald, Dinesh Paliwal, the CEO of Harman International, said that he had a meeting with Samsung's president and CEO of the consumer electronics business during IFA in Berlin. Samsung's upcoming speaker will have a better AI platform than its rivals such as the Google Home and Amazon's Alexa-powered devices. He also mentioned that the speaker will have a "better AI platform" than its rivals including the Google Home and Amazon's Alexa-powered devices.
When it comes to smart speakers, Panasonic is hoping users will remember the music and not just the assistant technology. The company's new SC-GA10 is a large, minimally designed smart speaker with Google Assistant inside that also boasts a powerful audio punch. Panasonic demonstrated the speaker at Berlin's IFA trade show in two versions: both had a silver base and one had a black speaker while the other was white. The SC-GA10 smart speaker will be available in early 2018.
With Harman International by its side, Samsung is preparing to enter the smart speaker market by creating a device that's sporting a more advanced artificial intelligence technology. The smart speaker Samsung is launching could even be running on an AI platform that's better than Amazon's Alexa and Google's Google Assistant. "The Samsung speaker will have a better AI platform than Google Assistant and Amazon's Alexa," the Harman CEO said. So how will the AI platform on Samsung's smart speaker be better than Google Assistant and Alexa?