Google Home’s assistant can now recognize different voices — from cnbc.com

Excerpt:

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Google’s voice-activated assistant can now recognize who’s talking to it on Google’s Home speaker.

An update released Thursday enables Home’s built-in assistant to learn the different voices of up to six people, although they can’t all be talking to the internet-connected speaker at the same time.

Distinguishing voices will allow Home to be more personal in some of its responses, depending on who triggers the assistant with the phrase, “OK Google” or “Hey Google.”

For instance, once Home is trained to recognize a user named Joe, the assistant will automatically be able to tell him what traffic is like on his commute, list events on his daily calendar or even play his favorite songs. Then another user named Jane could get similar information from Home, but customized for her.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Best Amazon Alexa Skills — from in.pcmag.com by Eric Griffith

Example skills:

 

WebMD

 

 

5 Alexa skills to try this week — from venturebeat.com by Khari Johnson

Excerpt:

Below are five noteworthy Amazon Alexa skills worth trying, chosen from New, Most Enabled Skills, Food and Drink, and Customer Favorites categories in the Alexa Skills Marketplace.

 

From DSC:
I’d like to see how the Verse of the Day skill performs.

 

 

 


Also see:


 

 


From DSC:
This topic reminds me of a slide from
my NGLS 2017 Conference presentation:

 

 


 

 

Samsung’s personal assistant Bixby will take on Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri — from theaustralian.com.au by Chris Griffith

Excerpt:

Samsung has published details of its Bixby personal assistant, which will debut on its Galaxy S8 smartphone in New York next week.

Bixby will go head-to-head with Google Assistant, Microsoft Cortana, Amazon Echo and Apple Siri, in a battle to lure you into their artificial intelligence world.

In future, the personal assistant that you like may not only influence which phone you buy, also the home automation system that you adopt.

This is because these personal assistants cross over into home use, which is why Samsung would bother with one of its own.

Given that the S8 will run Android Nougat, which includes Google Assistant, users will have two personal assistants on their phone, unless somehow one is disabled.

 

 

There are a lot of red flags with Samsung’s AI assistant in the new Galaxy S8 — from businessinsider.com by Steve Kovach

Excerpt:

There’s Siri. And Alexa. And Google Assistant. And Cortana. Now add another one of those digital assistants to the mix: Bixby, the new helper that lives inside Samsung’s latest phone, the Galaxy S8. But out of all the assistants that have launched so far, Bixby is the most curious and the most limited.

Samsung’s goal with Bixby was to create an assistant that can mimic all the functions you’re used to performing by tapping on your screen through voice commands. The theory is that phones are too hard to manage, so simply letting users tell their phone what they want to happen will make things a lot easier.

 

 

Samsung Galaxy S8: Hands on with the world’s most ambitious phone — from telegraph.co.uk by James Titcomb

Excerpt:

The S8 will also feature Bixby, Samsung’s new intelligent assistant. The company says Bixby is a bigger deal than Siri or Google Assistant – as well as simply asking for the weather, it will be deeply integrated with the phone’s everyday functions such as taking photos and sending them to people. Samsung has put a dedicated Bixby button on the S8 on the left hand side, but I wasn’t able to try it out because it won’t launch in the UK until later this year.

 

 

Samsung Galaxy S8 launch: Samsung reveals its long-awaited iPhone killer — from telegraph.co.uk by James Titcomb

 

 

 


Also see:


 

Recent years have brought some rapid development in the area of artificially intelligent personal assistants. Future iterations of the technology could fully revamp the way we interact with our devices.

 

 

 

21 bot experts make their predictions for 2017 — from venturebeat.com by Adelyn Zhou

Excerpt:

2016 was a huge year for bots, with major platforms like Facebook launching bots for Messenger, and Amazon and Google heavily pushing their digital assistants. Looking forward to 2017, we asked 21 bot experts, entrepreneurs, and executives to share their predictions for how bots will continue to evolve in the coming year.

From Jordi Torras, founder and CEO, Inbenta:
“Chatbots will get increasingly smarter, thanks to the adoption of sophisticated AI algorithms and machine learning. But also they will specialize more in specific tasks, like online purchases, customer support, or online advice. First attempts of chatbot interoperability will start to appear, with generalist chatbots, like Siri or Alexa, connecting to specialized enterprise chatbots to accomplish specific tasks. Functions traditionally performed by search engines will be increasingly performed by chatbots.”

 

 

 

 

 


From DSC:
For those of us working within higher education, chatbots need to be on our radars. Here are 2 slides from my NGLS 2017 presentation.

 

 

 

 

59 impressive things artificial intelligence can do today — from businessinsider.com by Ed Newton-Rex

Excerpt:

But what can AI do today? How close are we to that all-powerful machine intelligence? I wanted to know, but couldn’t find a list of AI’s achievements to date. So I decided to write one. What follows is an attempt at that list. It’s not comprehensive, but it contains links to some of the most impressive feats of machine intelligence around. Here’s what AI can do…

 

 

 


Recorded Saturday, February 25th, 2017 and published on Mar 16, 2017


Description:

Will progress in Artificial Intelligence provide humanity with a boost of unprecedented strength to realize a better future, or could it present a threat to the very basis of human civilization? The future of artificial intelligence is up for debate, and the Origins Project is bringing together a distinguished panel of experts, intellectuals and public figures to discuss who’s in control. Eric Horvitz, Jaan Tallinn, Kathleen Fisher and Subbarao Kambhampati join Origins Project director Lawrence Krauss.

 

 

 

 

Description:
Elon Musk, Stuart Russell, Ray Kurzweil, Demis Hassabis, Sam Harris, Nick Bostrom, David Chalmers, Bart Selman, and Jaan Tallinn discuss with Max Tegmark (moderator) what likely outcomes might be if we succeed in building human-level AGI, and also what we would like to happen. The Beneficial AI 2017 Conference: In our sequel to the 2015 Puerto Rico AI conference, we brought together an amazing group of AI researchers from academia and industry, and thought leaders in economics, law, ethics, and philosophy for five days dedicated to beneficial AI. We hosted a two-day workshop for our grant recipients and followed that with a 2.5-day conference, in which people from various AI-related fields hashed out opportunities and challenges related to the future of AI and steps we can take to ensure that the technology is beneficial.

 

 


(Below emphasis via DSC)

IBM and Ricoh have partnered for a cognitive-enabled interactive whiteboard which uses IBM’s Watson intelligence and voice technologies to support voice commands, taking notes and actions and even translating into other languages.

 

The Intelligent Workplace Solution leverages IBM Watson and Ricoh’s interactive whiteboards to allow to access features via using voice. It makes sure that Watson doesn’t just listen, but is an active meeting participant, using real-time analytics to help guide discussions.

Features of the new cognitive-enabled whiteboard solution include:

  • Global voice control of meetings: Once a meeting begins, any employee, whether in-person or located remotely in another country, can easily control what’s on the screen, including advancing slides, all through simple voice commands using Watson’s Natural Language API.
  • Translation of the meeting into another language: The Intelligent Workplace Solution can translate speakers’ words into several other languages and display them on screen or in transcript.
  • Easy-to-join meetings: With the swipe of a badge the Intelligent Workplace Solution can log attendance and track key agenda items to ensure all key topics are discussed.
  • Ability to capture side discussions: During a meeting, team members can also hold side conversations that are displayed on the same whiteboard.

 


From DSC:

Holy smokes!

If you combine the technologies that Ricoh and IBM are using with their new cognitive-enabled interactive whiteboard with what Bluescape is doing — by providing 160 acres of digital workspace that’s used to foster collaboration (and to do so whether you are working remoting or working with others in the same physical space) — and you have one incredibly powerful platform! 

#NLP  |  #AI  |  #CognitiveComputing  | #SmartClassrooms
#LearningSpaces  |#Collaboration |  #Meetings 

 

 


 

 

 


 

AI Market to Grow 47.5% Over Next Four Years — from campustechnology.com by Richard Chang

Excerpt:

The artificial intelligence (AI) market in the United States education sector is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 47.5 percent during the period 2017-2021, according to a new report by market research firm Research and Markets.

 

 

Amazon deepens university ties in artificial intelligence race — from by Jeffrey Dastin

Excerpt:

Amazon.com Inc has launched a new program to help students build capabilities into its voice-controlled assistant Alexa, the company told Reuters, the latest move by a technology firm to nurture ideas and talent in artificial intelligence research.

Amazon, Alphabet Inc’s Google and others are locked in a race to develop and monetize artificial intelligence. Unlike some rivals, Amazon has made it easy for third-party developers to create skills for Alexa so it can get better faster – a tactic it now is extending to the classroom.

 

 

The WebMD skill for Amazon’s Alexa can answer all your medical questions — from digitaltrends.com by Kyle Wiggers
WebMD is bringing its wealth of medical knowledge to a new form factor: Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant.

Excerpt:

Alexa, Amazon’s brilliant voice-activated smart assistant, is a capable little companion. It can order a pizza, summon a car, dictate a text message, and flick on your downstairs living room’s smart bulb. But what it couldn’t do until today was tell you whether that throbbing lump on your forearm was something that required medical attention. Fortunately, that changed on Tuesday with the introduction of a WebMD skill that puts the service’s medical knowledge at your fingertips.

 

 


Addendum:

  • How artificial intelligence is taking Asia by storm — from techwireasia.com by Samantha Cheh
    Excerpt:
    Lately it seems as if everyone is jumping onto the artificial intelligence bandwagon. Everyone, from ride-sharing service Uber to Amazon’s logistics branch, is banking on AI being the next frontier in technological innovation, and are investing heavily in the industry.

    That’s likely truest in Asia, where the manufacturing engine which drove China’s growth is now turning its focus to plumbing the AI mine for gold.

    Despite Asia’s relatively low overall investment in AI, the industry is set to grow. Fifty percent of respondents in KPMG’s AI report said their companies had plans to invest in AI or robotic technology.

    Investment in AI is set to drive venture capital investment in China in 2017. Tak Lo, of Hong Kong’s Zeroth, notes there are more mentions of AI in Chinese research papers than there are in the US.

    China, Korea and Japan collectively account for nearly half the planet’s shipments of articulated robots in the world.

     

 

Artificial Intelligence – Research Areas

 

 

 

 

 

 

A smorgasboard of ideas to put on your organization’s radar! [Christian]

From DSC:
At the Next Generation Learning Spaces Conference, held recently in San Diego, CA, I moderated a panel discussion re: AR, VR, and MR.  I started off our panel discussion with some introductory ideas and remarks — meant to make sure that numerous ideas were on the radars at attendees’ organizations. Then Vinay and Carrie did a super job of addressing several topics and questions (Mary was unable to make it that day, as she got stuck in the UK due to transportation-related issues).

That said, I didn’t get a chance to finish the second part of the presentation which I’ve listed below in both 4:3 and 16:9 formats.  So I made a recording of these ideas, and I’m relaying it to you in the hopes that it can help you and your organization.

 


Presentations/recordings:


 

Audio/video recording (187 MB MP4 file)

 

 


Again, I hope you find this information helpful.

Thanks,
Daniel

 

 

 

This app helps you learn a new language in virtual reality — from haptic.al by Deniz Ergürel
The educational VR app combines voice chatbot technology and speech recognition.

Excerpt:

Learning a new language can be extremely hard. It requires a lot of effort, time and dedication. A new virtual reality app aims to make this learning process much easier and even fun.

Launched in Oculus store, “Learn Languages VR by Mondly” allows people to experience lifelike conversations with virtual characters, in 28 different languages. The VR app can be downloaded for Samsung’s Gear VR headsets to get some introductory courses for free.

 

 

 

 

 

CES 2017: The year of voice — from J. Walter Thompson Intelligence by Sheperd Laughlin
Improvements in natural language processing have set the stage for a revolution in how we interact with tech.

Excerpt:

Over the past several decades, the proliferation of screens and “screen time” has been practically synonymous technology’s ever-expanding role in our lives. But this year’s CES highlights a shift in how we interact with computers: more and more, we’re bypassing screens altogether through the medium of voice.

Shawn DuBravac, chief economist of the Consumer Technology Association, said that 2017 represented an inflection point in computers’ ability to translate speech into text. When such experiments first began in 1994, he said, their error rate was about 100%. As recently as 2013, computers failed to accurately transcribe 23% of human speech.

But in 2017, they will reach parity with humans, understanding what we say at least 94% of the time. “We’re ushering in an entirely new era of faceless computing,” DuBravac said.

 

 

 


Addendum on 2/23/17:


 

 

Your Next Personal Robot Could Be Professor Einstein

 

 

 

From DSC:
By the way, I’m not posting this to suggest that professors/teachers/trainers/etc. are going away due to AI-based technologies.  Humans like to learn with other humans (and we are decades away from a general AI anyway).

That said, I do think there’s a place for technologies to be used as beneficial tools. In this case, such an AI-backed robot could help with some of the heavy lifting of learning about a new subject or topic. This interesting piece — currently out at Kickstarter — is a good example of the combination of a variety of technologies such as AI/speech recognition/natural language processing (NLP), robotics, and other technologies.

Notice that you can download more interactive apps from the cloud with Professor Einstein. In other words, this is like a platform. (Along these lines…developers gave Alexa 4000 new skills last quarterAmazon is creating a platform as well.)

Bottom line: AI needs to be on our radars.

 

 

 

Per X Media Lab:

The authoritative CB Insights lists imminent Future Tech Trends: customized babies; personalized foods; robotic companions; 3D printed housing; solar roads; ephemeral retail; enhanced workers; lab-engineered luxury; botroots movements; microbe-made chemicals; neuro-prosthetics; instant expertise; AI ghosts. You can download the whole outstanding report here (125 pgs).

 

From DSC:
Though I’m generally pro-technology, there are several items in here which support the need for all members of society to be informed and have some input into if and how these technologies should be used. Prime example: Customized babies.  The report discusses the genetic modification of babies: “In the future, we will choose the traits for our babies.” Veeeeery slippery ground here.

 

Below are some example screenshots:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also see:

CBInsights — Innovation Summit

  • The New User Interface: The Challenge and Opportunities that Chatbots, Voice Interfaces and Smart Devices Present
  • Fusing the physical, digital and biological: AI’s transformation of healthcare
  • How predictive algorithms and AI will rule financial services
  • Autonomous Everything: How Connected Vehicles Will Change Mobility and Which Companies Will Own this Future
  • The Next Industrial Age: The New Revenue Sources that the Industrial Internet of Things Unlocks
  • The AI-100: 100 Artificial Intelligence Startups That You Better Know
  • Autonomous Everything: How Connected Vehicles Will Change Mobility and Which Companies Will Own this Future

 

 

 
© 2016 Learning Ecosystems