Smart Speakers
Amazon, Google, Apple, and the Zigbee Alliance announced a new partnership called Project Connected Home over IP. It will create a new smart home standard so their products can work together. Sadly, we won’t see a draft specification until late next year. But the good news is that the partnership is announced and there will be a spec and open source materials, too. 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 →
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 →
You may not know this, but Siri loves music. Siri has always been able to let you play tracks, albums or genres through voice commands. But with iOS 8, Siri can do even more. Siri is now able to rate songs in your music collection. While a song is playing, you can tell Siri, “Rate Continue Reading →
Google Now
There is nothing sweeter than pulling out your phone, asking it a question, and getting back the one obscure piece of information you need to settle a debate or win a drunken bet. Smartphones from Google, Apple, and Microsoft all offer a personal assistant who claims to be flush with knowledge drawn from around the Continue Reading →
Siri
Siri, Apple’s voice-powered virtual assistant, is pretty musically inclined. She’s been able to manipulate your music library for quite some time, letting you play specific tracks, albums, and genres with a simple command. Now with iOS 8, her musical powers have expanded even further. For those with downloaded music on their iOS device, you can Continue Reading →
If you think Siri is great, wait until you get a hold of Viv. Developed by the creative team behind Siri, Viv blows Siri out of the water. While Siri is limited to the tasks Apple wants it to do, Viv can teach itself and break down commands or questions into individual parts, figure everything Continue Reading →
Siri
If you really want to be able to emulate the characters in Apple’s promotional videos then you need to be able to tell Siri to “call mom” and “email dad.” Thanks to the custom label field built into iCloud contacts, you can assign any kind of relationship to people you know. Tell Siri about your Continue Reading →