Natural Language Understanding & Automatic Speech Recognition

Posts about Natural Language Understanding & Automatic Speech Recognition. Subscribe to my newsletter to make sure you don't miss anything.

Can Alexa Lie?

Echo Glowing Red Ring
There was a recent tabloid piece featuring a video of a woman asking Alexa if it was connected to the CIA. At the time, the Echo Dot she was speaking to did not respond to the question. She asked a few times, and each time the Echo was silent. Conspiracy theorists weighed in. It was an amusing video, but the Daily Mail’s clickbait headline raises a legitimate question: Can Alexa lie? Continue Reading →
robots took my job
Before qualifying for assistance under the Universal Minimum Guaranteed Income Program Act of 2021 (also known as the “U-Min” bill, which guarantees workers displaced by robots a living wage), Joe was a CPA and a tax auditing partner at a Big Four accounting firm. Continue Reading →
Alexa Echo ASR NLU
If you let your imagination run wild in the world of automatic speech recognition (ASR) and natural language understanding (NLU), and you throw in a little fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD), you can come up with several illegal uses for systems such as Alexa Voice Service, Google Home, Siri, and Cortana that will give you pause. Just for fun, let’s play pretend in our world of infinite possibilities. Continue Reading →

Alexa, The Killer App

The superstar of CES® 2017 was not a car, or a robot, or even a TV; it was Alexa Voice Service (AVS), the software that allows you to control compatible devices with your voice. Various reports estimated there were 700–1,100 Alexa-controllable products at the show. I can't verify the number, but "and it works with Alexa" was the running gag at CES. The familiar Amazon/Alexa logo seemed to be everywhere. Continue Reading →
Google Home and Amazon Echo
Sometimes I walk into a room and say, “Alexa, what’s the temperature outside?” She answers by speaking the current temperature followed by an abbreviated weather report. She’s so human-like, I have to resist the temptation to say “Thank you” when she finishes. Importantly, Alexa is not a she; it is a component of Amazon's Echo natural language processing system. Amazon has anthropomorphized Echo with a female voice and a feminine name, which makes it easy to call Alexa a “she.” Should we be polite when we speak to it, or is it OK to be abrupt or even abusive? The device won’t care. It doesn't have feelings; but how will we teach our children to differentiate between machines that sound and act like people, and other disembodied voices that actually are people? Continue Reading →

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