Jamie Carter of Tech Radar recently wrote, “With iOS devices now allowing the sending of voice messages and predictions for self-driving cars and voice-activated doors, lights and elevators (cue the internet of things), it’s clear that the future will be spoken, not written. The technology behind this shift in how we interact with our surroundings is natural language processing, a technology that enables computers to understand the meaning of our words and recognise the habits of our speech.” Read more
Posts Tagged ‘Siri’
Wired’s Robert McMillan recently wrote, “…neural network algorithms are hitting the mainstream, making computers smarter in new and exciting ways. Google has used them to beef up Android’s voice recognition. IBM uses them. And, most remarkably, Microsoft uses neural networks as part of the Star-Trek-like Skype Translate, which translates what you say into another language almost instantly. People “were very skeptical at first,” Hinton says, “but our approach has now taken over.” One big-name company, however, hasn’t made the jump: Apple, whose Siri software is due for an upgrade. Though Apple is famously secretive about its internal operations–and did not provide comment for this article–it seems that the company previously licensed voice recognition technology from Nuance—perhaps the best known speech recognition vendor. But those in the tight-knit community of artificial intelligence researchers believe this is about to change. It’s clear, they say, that Apple has formed its own speech recognition team and that a neural-net-boosted Siri is on the way.”
Apple Insider recently reported, “According to Apple’s ‘Jobs at Apple’ website, the company is seeking ‘Siri Language Engineers’ fluent in Arabic, Brazilian Portuguese, Danish, Dutch, Norwegian, Swedish, Thai, Turkish and Russian, all of which are currently unsupported by the voice recognizing digital assistant. The job postings were first uncovered by MacRumors. Along with the nine new languages, Apple is looking to enhance Siri‘s existing lexicon with hires fluent in Australian and British English, Cantonese and Japanese. All listings ask not only for fluency, but for native speakers to handle colloquialisms locals may use when speaking to Siri. Apple also strives to make Siri’s own speech as natural as possible, meaning the potential hires will likely be working on responses to user queries.” Read more
Apple’s announcements at its WorldWide Developers’ Conference today had the crowd responding enthusiastically (of course, it was an Apple’s Developers Conference, so that just comes with the territory).
Much of the applause came in response to the new iOS 8 and its enhanced capabilities. As had been expected, as part of this, virtual assistant Siri got a bit of a facelift.
In the new iOS 8 for iPhones and iPads, due in the fall, there’s no need to touch your iPhone if it’s plugged in and you’ve got a question that needs answering and no hands to touch the mike. Apple also has partnered with music recognition service Shazam so that Siri now can recognize songs playing around them, and purchase them too; Shazam creates digital fingerprints of the audio it hears and matches it against its database of millions of tracks. Its natural language processing is fluent in 22 languages now, and streaming voice recognition means you can see what you’re saying as you are saying it.
Ingrid Lunden of Tech Crunch reports, “Apple has Siri, and now Intel has Ginger. The chipmaker has made one more acquisition to bolster its advanced computing and artificial intelligence holdings: it has purchased selected assets, and hired talent, from Israel’s Ginger Software in the area of natural language processing tools and applications. Those assets include a platform for third parties to create customised personal assistants, for a price believed to be up to $30 million. Ginger Software, backed by investors like Li Ka-Shing’s Horizons Ventures, will continue to operate as an independent business focusing on its remaining business: intelligent grammar and spell checking software. This is not the only change afoot at Ginger: the company recently saw its chairperson, Soffer Teeni, leave to head up Facebook Israel.” Read more
Amy Plitt of the Daily Traveler reports, “Travel-booking website Skyscanner partnered with 56 experts, including researchers from Google and Microsoft, as well as UK consulting firm The Future Laboratory, to determine what the future of travel might look like. The company released its findings this week, and unsurprisingly, emerging technology will make traveling both easier and more intuitive. The first part of the report focuses on planning and booking trips. According to the experts surveyed, one of the biggest changes will be the development of ‘Digital Travel Buddies,’ virtual companions that will guide you through every step of the process and help you once you’re on your trip. (Think Apple’s Siri, but way better at knowing what you want before you want it.) Read more
As The Semantic Web Blog discussed yesterday here, the Virtual Personal Assistant is getting more personal. Microsoft officially unveiled Cortana as part of the Windows Phone 8.1 smartphone software at its Build event yesterday, and the service effectively replaces the search function on Windows smartphones, both for the Internet and locally.
This statement served as the theme from corporate vice president and manager Joe Belfiore: “Cortana is the first truly personal digital assistant who learns about me and about the things that matter to me most and the people that matter to me most, that understands the Internet and is great at helping me get things done.”
The Bing-powered Cortana is launching in beta mode, and was still subject to a few hiccups during the presentation. For example, when Belfiore asked Cortana to give him the weather in Las Vegas, it reported the information in degrees, and was able to respond to his request to provide the same information in Celsius. But he couldn’t get her to make the calculations to Kelvin. But, he promised attendees, “Try it yourself because she is smart enough to tell you the answer in Kelvin.”
Aaron Taube of Business Insider recently wrote in the SF Gate, “Apple is thinking about how it can figure out exactly how you feel at any given moment in order to show you the most relevant advertisements. In a patent application the company filed Thursday, Apple describes a hypothetical system that would analyze and define people’s moods based on a variety of clues including facial expressions, perspiration rates, and vocal patterns. To be clear, Apple patents just about everything it does, with most applications never amounting to anything with regard to the actual products Apple releases. Still it’s interesting to see how Apple is thinking about predictive, contextual advertising at such a granular level, especially in light of its battle with companies like Google and Facebook to offer search products (Siri, the App Store) that know precisely what a user is looking for — even if the user has not expressly communicated his or her desire.” Read more
Jon Reed of iPhoneFAQ reports, “Apple’s overhauled Photos application that debuted with iOS 7 earlier this year introduced automatic photo sorting by date and location. A new patent application that surfaced at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday suggests that Apple wants to improve upon this idea by allowing users to tag photos and search for them using Siri. The patent, entitled ‘Voice-Based Image Tagging and Searching,’ describes how the idea works in its abstract: ‘The electronic device provides a natural language text string corresponding to a speech input associated with the digital photograph. The electronic device performs natural language processing on the text string to identify one or more terms associated with an entity, an activity, or a location. The electronic device tags the digital photograph with the one or more terms and their associated entity, activity, or location’.” Read more
Picking up from where we left off yesterday, we continue exploring where 2014 may take us in the world of semantics, Linked and Smart Data, content analytics, and so much more.
Marco Neumann, CEO and co-founder, KONA and director, Lotico: On the technology side I am personally looking forward to make use of the new RDF1.1 implementations and the new SPARQL end-point deployment solutions in 2014 The Semantic Web idea is here to stay, though you might call it by a different name (again) in 2014.
Bill Roberts, CEO, Swirrl: Looking forward to 2014, I see a growing use of Linked Data in open data ‘production’ systems, as opposed to proofs of concept, pilots and test systems. I expect good progress on taking Linked Data out of the hands of specialists to be used by a broader group of data users.
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