Kia Kokalitcheva of VentureBeat reports, “A few years ago, when Apple added Siri to the iPhone, talking to inanimate objects with batteries to make them do stuff was pretty novel. Today, thanks to companies like Wit.ai, even kids at hackathons are showing off weekend projects that are voice-controlled. Wit.ai, a Y Combinator-backed startup that provides natural language processing (NLP) in the form of an API, is helping developers and startups integrate voice commands into their products. The company is announcing today that it has raised $3 million in seed funding just over a year since its founders posted the first API version on Hacker News.” Read more
Posts Tagged ‘Siri’
Dave Altavilla of Forbes reports, “Microsoft has a big opportunity tomorrow when they unveil the next version of Windows known by the code name ‘Threshold’ and what could ultimately be dubbed Windows 9. Though its official name has yet to be confirmed, Microsoft is holding an event tomorrow in San Francisco and the unveil invitations sent out hint at ‘what’s next for Windows.’ Lately there have been a flurry of reports and leaks of what is widely known as Windows 9, though there is still some buzz that Microsoft may brand the OS by a different name upon launch. Regardless, here are a few key highlights on what I think we’ll see the Redmond team unveil with this new OS, which is expected to cure the many ills users have been complaining of with Windows 8.” Read more
Katherine Noyes of Tech News World reports, “The inventors of Apple’s Siri personal assistant have launched an independent effort that could make their first offspring look kind of dumb. Billed by its creators as ‘the global brain,’ Viv aims to radically simplify the world by providing an intelligent interface to everything. ‘They are trying to abstract Siri’s [natural-language processing] interface so you could apply it into other applications and domains,’ Raj Singh, CEO and founder of Tempo AI, told TechNewsWorld. ‘For example, what if I wanted to integrate a Siri-like interface into the Yelp app or the Expedia app?’ Currently, ‘there isn’t a good facility to do this,’ he said. Read more
Catherine Havasi, CEO of Luminoso recently wrote for Tech Crunch, “Everyone knows that ‘water is wet,’ and ‘people want to be happy,’ and we assume everyone we meet shares this knowledge. It forms the basis of how we interact and allows us to communicate quickly, efficiently, and with deep meaning. As advanced as technology is today, its main shortcoming as it becomes a large part of daily life in society is that it does not share these assumptions. We find ourselves talking more and more to our devices — to our mobile phones and even our televisions. But when we talk to Siri, we often find that the rules that underlie her can’t comprehend exactly what we want if we stray far from simple commands. For this vision to be fulfilled, we’ll need computers to understand us as we talk to each other in a natural environment. For that, we’ll need to continue to develop the field of common-sense reasoning — without it, we’re never going to be able to have an intelligent conversation with Siri, Google Glass or our Xbox.” Read more
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
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
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