If you are looking for an answer to the question What is Artificial Intelligence? and you only have a minute, then here's the definition the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence offers on its home page: "the scientific understanding of the mechanisms underlying thought and intelligent behavior and their embodiment in machines."
However, if you are fortunate enough to have more than a minute, then please get ready to embark upon an exciting journey exploring AI (but beware, it could last a lifetime) …
It's increasingly clear that voice is the next major interface in computing, in some cases replacing the touch-based platforms of the smartphone era. Amazon's Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple's Siri, and Samsung's Bixby are leading the voice charge by providing contextual data and performing tasks on behalf of users. As voice-based virtual assistants continue move into a broad swath of form factors -- including smartphones, smart speakers, and automobiles -- their impact on the general public will grow as well. As consumer use cases continue to accumulate, these assistants are also making their way further into the office, creating new opportunities for improving business productivity and efficiency. SEE: IT leader's guide to the future of artificial intelligence (Tech Pro Research) While voice assistants are known for their ability to start a music playlist, for example, they also have great potential in the workplace.
Apple, Amazon and Google have been dead-locked in a battle of the voice assistants for the past several years. But it's no secret that Amazon and Google have charged ahead with their respective services, Alexa and Assistant, while Apple's digital assistant Siri has lagged behind. Siri's troubled seven-year history is likely a result of poor management, slipshod decision making and an inconsistent vision at the company of what the product should be, according to a new report from the Information. At least a dozen former Apple employees spoke in detailed candor about how Siri was created and the drama that ensued among executives and engineers. Many people involved in creating Siri from the beginning cite Apple founder Steve Jobs' death as a tipping point in the product's failure.
It's 2018, and my 2016 Alexa has finally started talking to my 2012 Nest. The bestselling voice assistant (technically the Amazon Echo, but who calls it that?) and the bestselling smart thermostat (from a company bought by, spun off from, and now re-absorbed by Google), have sipped from the same Wi-Fi for years. All that time, neither my wife (the household IT expert) nor I could get Alexa to acknowledge the Nest existed, let alone ask her to turn the heat up or down. So they sat silently a few feet from each other, like estranged spouses in a childish feud. SEE ALSO: Amazon updates Alexa so you don't have to say'Alexa' repeatedly Sometime in the last few months, one of those automatic software updates that wallpaper our modern life solved whatever the issue was.
Spotify is experimenting with a voice-control interface, looking to free itself from reliance on Siri and Alexa and pave the way for the company's forthcoming smart speaker. Users of the service have spotted the new feature hiding in the search bar of Spotify's iOS app. After tapping the magnifying glass to search for a track or playlist, testers see a microphone icon inside a white bubble, according to the Verge. After users tap on the icon, Spotify suggests a number of typical requests for a voice-controlled music system: "Show Calvin Harris", "Play my Discover Weekly" and "Play some upbeat pop", for instance. The move comes as Spotify ramps up its efforts to build a smart speaker to challenge Apple, Amazon and Google in the hardware field, all of which have their own music services.
The Digital Transformation Institute of Capgemini published in the report titled "Conversational Commerce: Why Consumers Are Embracing Voice Assistants in Their Lives", which highlights how consumers use voice assistants (Google Assistant, Siri, and Alexa above all) and what opportunities these offer systems to companies to connect with their customers. From the report, which was attended by over 5,000 customers in the United States, United Kingdom, France and Germany, it emerges that in the next three years voice assistants will become the predominant mode of interaction between consumers, and that those who use technology to do purchases will be willing to spend 500% more through this new form of interaction than current levels. In fact, consumers are developing a strong preference for interacting with companies through voice assistants. Research has shown that today about a quarter of respondents (24%) would prefer to use a voice assistant instead of a website. However, it is estimated that in the next three years this percentage will grow to 40% and almost a third (31%) will interact with a voice assistant instead of going to a physical store or a bank branch, compared to 20% recorded today.
It's no secret that Siri is way behind other voice assistants like the Google Assistant and Amazon's Alexa when it comes to comprehension and total number of skills. Apple has drastically improved Siri over the years, adding new features and upgrading its voice to sound more human-like, but its ongoing shortcomings really revealed themselves in the recent launch of the HomePod, the company's first product that's almost entirely controlled by the voice assistant. So how did Apple screw up Siri so badly when it was released so far in advance of the competition? A new report from The Information reveals how years of missteps left Siri eating dust. According to the report, after acquiring the original Siri app in 2010 for $200 million, Apple proceeded to quickly integrate the digital assistant into the iPhone 4S in 2011.
This story was delivered to BI Intelligence IoT Briefing subscribers hours before it appeared on Business Insider. To be the first to know, please click here. Apple is reportedly considering releasing a less expensive version of its HomePod smart speaker later this year, according to Business Insider. The new device would cost between $150 and $200, which is significantly cheaper than the $350 price tag for the current device. In addition, MacRumors reports that the cheaper HomePod is expected to be released alongside lower-cost versions of the MacBook Air, iPhone, and iPad.
No, you're (probably) not being haunted, it's just Amazon's Alexa voice assistant malfunctioning in a profoundly creepy way. Some Alexa users have reported hearing an unprompted laugh from their smart speaker devices in the last day. The laugh happens randomly, when nobody is using the device, or in response to request to turn on or off lights. "We're aware of this and working to fix it," Amazon (AMZN) said in a statement, confirming the issue. The company did not elaborate on how widespread the laugh is.
Amazon's Alexa has been letting out an unprompted, creepy cackle - startling users of the best-selling voice assistant. The laugh, described by some as "witch like" was reported to sometimes happen without the device being "woken" up. Others reported the laugh occurring when they asked Alexa to perform a different task, such as playing music. "We're aware of this and working to fix it," Amazon said. Voice assistants like Alexa are designed to respond or act only when prompted with a wake word, which in this case is "Alexa" or "Amazon".
Several people who own Amazon's Echo speakers have reported a strange bug: the Alexa voice assistant has been laughing for no reason. Some users on Twitter and Reddit say the outbursts have been entirely spontaneous. Others have said that Alexa has laughed after being asked to turn on the lights -- and may have misheard the command. "Having an office conversation about pretty confidential stuff and Alexa just laughed," Twitter user @DavidSven wrote recently. "Anybody else ever have that?