voice assistant


Developing Voice Assistants Will Take A Village – Tolani Adekoya – Medium

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There's a good old saying that says'it takes a village to raise a child' and in the world of tech I believe that child is currently voice assistants. Pretty much most of the new technologies are incorporating voice features and there's a big reason for that. Aside from the fact that it makes interaction with systems easier, voice assistants are not yet advanced and their development relies on analysing vast amounts of voice data. This is why open source projects like the Mozilla Common Voice project exist where users can donate their voice to research and it is also why tech giants like Google and Amazon are pushing out products like Alexa and Google Home. So what exactly do tech companies want to do with our voices?


Voice assistants still have problems understanding strong accents

Engadget

Cultural biases in tech aren't just limited to facial recognition -- they crop up in voice assistants as well. The Washington Post has partnered with research groups on studies showing that Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant aren't as accurate understanding people with strong accents, no matter how fluent their English might be. People with Indian accents were at a relatively mild disadvantage in one study, but the overall accuracy went down by at least 2.6 percent for those with Chinese accents, and by as much as 4.2 percent for Spanish accents. The gap was particularly acute in media playback, where a Spanish accent might net a 79.9 accuracy rate versus 91.8 percent from an Eastern US accent. A second study showed how voice assistants would frequently mangle interpretations when people read news headlines out loud.


Why artificial intelligence must disclose that it's AI

FOX News

Google recently repitched Duplex to explicitly reveal to restaurant hosts and salon staff that they are speaking with the Google Assistant and are being recorded. Google omitted this small but important detail when it first introduced Duplex at its I/O developer conference in May. A media backlash ensued, and critics renewed old fears about the implications of unleashing AI agents that can impersonate the behavior of humans in indistinguishable ways. By tweaking Duplex, Google puts to rest some of that criticism. But why is it so important that companies be transparent about the identity of their AI agents?


5 Ways Artificial Intelligence Will Lighten Employee Workloads

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Artificial intelligence (AI) will be a good thing for the digital workplace. Despite concerns about job redundancies and shifting enterprise priorities, recent research from global auditing company PwC suggests that, far from hindering employees or even making some jobs obsolete, AI will help workers achieve business objectives quicker and more effectively. To do that, however, organizations will need to invest in different types of AI. The research, part of PwC's Economic Outlook for 2018, predicted the main contributor to the UK's economic gains between 2017 and 2030 will come from consumer product enhancements stimulating consumer demand (8.4 percent). The research identified AI as a key factor in this growth, by driving a greater choice of products, increasing personalization and making those products more affordable over time.


Alexa: Don't Let My 2-Year-Old Talk to You That Way

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This is new territory for families. For the first time, children who are too young to distinguish fantasy from reality are engaging with devices powered by artificial intelligence. Many see smart speakers as magical, imbue them with human traits and boss them around like a Marine drill instructor, according to several new studies in the past year. Hunter Walk, a San Francisco venture capitalist, worried that his family's Amazon Echo "is turning our daughter into a raging asshole," he wrote in a blog post in 2016, because of the 4-year-old's tendency to boss it around. He has since set rules around how to talk to the device and said he hasn't noticed any rude behavior by his daughter, who is now 6. "I still have concerns," Mr. Walk says.


Budget Direct CMO: Experiment with voice assistants now or miss the next customer engagement wave

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Brands not taking the opportunity to get on the front foot of voice-based interaction and experiment with devices such as Amazon Alexa risk missing the boat on the next wave of customer engagement. That's the view of Auto & General director of digital and marketing, Jonathan Kerr, who spoke to CMO following the launch of Budget Direct's first Amazon Alexa skill in Australia. The new Budget Direct Alexa Skills has debuted with 40 different information-based and commonly asked queries, from learning more about insurance definitions, to frequently asked questions about motor and home insurance as well as how to get a quote or make a claim. Each of these questions can be asked and answered in an average of five or six ways, Kerr said, and stem from common questions being asked of the insurer's contact centre team and online. Given the brand's tongue-in-cheek content approach, there's also a fun question in the mix: 'Alexa, ask if Budget Direct knows how to party'.


Alexa alternatives have a secret weapon: Privacy

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Earlier this week we learned that worldwide smart speaker sales are expected to increase sixfold within the next couple of years. This mirrors multiple studies that say the majority of U.S. households will have a smart speaker by 2022, powered by current leading intelligent assistants Google Assistant and Alexa. At the same time, tech giants making intelligent assistants seem to want to have it both ways, selling products to both consumers and governments. For example, Microsoft, maker of Cortana, may be supplying facial recognition software to ICE, the government agency tasked with capturing and detaining immigrants who are in the United States illegally. As Amazon rolls out deep learning camera Lens and fashion assistant Echo Look, the company has drawn pleas from employees, the ACLU, and a number of other organizations to stop sharing its facial recognition software with law enforcement agencies.


Readers Write: Augmented Intelligence: Virtual Assistants Come to Healthcare

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Andrew Rebhan, MBA is a health IT research consultant with Advisory Board of Washington, DC. Natural language processing (NLP) techniques allow digital systems to streamline user interactions allowing machines to read text, understand meaning, and generate narratives from existing information. Recent advances in artificial intelligence (AI) technologies have accelerated progress in a broad range of NLP applications for healthcare, including digital assistants for clinical staff, concierge services for patients, and digital scribes to streamline documentation processes. For example, last Fall Nuance Communications released its Dragon Medical Virtual Assistant to help health care providers interact with clinical workflows using NLP and other conversational AI functionality. Nuance announced at HIMSS18 that it will integrate its virtual assistant technology into Epic's EHR.


Electrolux Pure i9 Review: An Effective, But Expensive Robot Vacuum

WIRED

Many people like to run their robovacs at night or while they're at work. I choose to run ours while I'm awake, right after dinner and while we're putting the kids to bed. First off, I don't see any reason to walk around all evening with crumbs sticking to the bottoms of my feet if I don't have to. But I've also found that most robot vacuums will require rescue, which means you have to be awake or around. If you're sufficiently pressed for time and energy that you need a robot vacuum, you're probably not being as diligent as you could be about eliminating botvac booby traps, like tiny doll socks or stray shoelaces.


Here's Why The Voice-First Strategy Will Rule - CXOtoday.com

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Voice technology is gaining mainstream acceptance thanks to the new voice based devices from the leading companies like Amazon, Google. Simultaneously Artificial Intelligence (AI) is becoming more efficient in identifying user intents. Many industries are experimenting with the devices and AI powered abstraction layers to identify areas that they exploit to deliver superior customer experience. According to Google, 20% of the searches are already by voice and they expect this to increase to 50% by 2020. Quantum leap in voice accuracy is another trend that is seen by the technology analysts over the last couple of years.