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Why Tech Giants Are So Desperate to Provide Your Voice Assistant
Voice assistants represent the third key UI and technology platform shift of the past three decades, following the web in the 1990’s and smartphones about 10 years ago.
hbr  harvard  business  review  voice  era  alexa  google  assistant  2019 
2 days ago by yencarnacion
ProWritingAid - the best grammar checker, style editor, and editing tool in one package.
Your personal writing coach. A grammar checker, style editor, and writing mentor in one package. The best writing depends on much more than just correct grammar. You need an editing tool that also highlights style issues and compares your writing to the best writers in your genre.
text  editor  writing  assistant  grammar  checker  language  online  service  plagiarism 
9 days ago by gilberto5757
leon-ai/leon: 🧠 Leon is your open-source personal assistant.
🧠 Leon is your open-source personal assistant. Contribute to leon-ai/leon development by creating an account on GitHub.
type:application  open-source  personal  assistant 
14 days ago by endorama
Kirkville - Amazon to Introduce Celebrity Voices for Alexa: F*ck Yeah!
Among Amazon’s other product announcements yesterday was one that surprised me. Not the announcement itself, but the fact that it’s taken so long for a company to do this. Amazon is introducing the Samuel L. Jackson celebrity voice for Alexa. At only 99c (introductory price; it will cost $5 later), you can have Samuel L. Jackson talk back to you from your Amazon Echo.
I think there could be a huge market for this. Imagine getting some more A-list celebrities, especially those with recognizable voices, to do this; it could sell a lot more of these devices.
As for me, I want Bob Dylan to give me directions in CarPlay.
amazon  voice  assistant  celebrity 
22 days ago by rgl7194
Apple study suggests chattier users prefer chattier AI assistants • VentureBeat
Kyle Wiggers:
<p>How might you characterize the conversational style of a digital assistant like Siri? No matter your impression, it stands to reason that striking the wrong tone could dissuade users from engaging with it in the future.

Perhaps that’s why in a paper (“<a href="https://arxiv.org/pdf/1904.01664.pdf">Mirroring to Build Trust in Digital Assistants</a>“) accepted to the Interspeech 2019 conference in Graz, Austria, researchers at Apple investigated a conversational assistant that considered users’ preferred tones and mannerisms in its responses. They found that people’s opinions of the assistant’s likability and trustworthiness improved when it mirrored their degree of chattiness, and that the features necessary to perform the mirroring could be extracted from those people’s speech patterns.

“Long-term reliance on digital assistants requires a sense of trust in the assistant and its abilities. Therefore, strategies for building and maintaining this trust are required, especially as digital assistants become more advanced and operate in more aspects of people’s lives,” wrote the paper’s coauthors. “We hypothesize that an effective method for enhancing trust in digital assistants is for the assistant to mirror the conversational style of a user’s query, specifically the degree of ‘chattiness,’ [which] we loosely define chattiness to be the degree to which a query is concise (high information density) versus talkative (low information density).”</p>


In the paper, they describe their putative assistant as "an interactive Wizard-of-Oz (WOZ)". Nicely played, people.
apple  siri  woz  chatter  assistant 
4 weeks ago by charlesarthur
'A white-collar sweatshop': Google Assistant contractors allege wage theft • The Guardian
Julia Carrie Wong:
<p>to some of the Google employees responsible for making the Assistant work, the tagline of the conference – “Keep making magic” – obscured a more mundane reality: the technical wizardry relies on massive data sets built by subcontracted human workers earning low wages.

“It’s smoke and mirrors if anything,” said a current Google employee who, as with the others quoted in this story, spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press. “Artificial intelligence is not that artificial; it’s human beings that are doing the work.”

The Google employee works on Pygmalion, the team responsible for producing linguistic data sets that make the Assistant work. And although he is employed directly by Google, most of his Pygmalion co-workers are subcontracted temps who have for years been routinely pressured to work unpaid overtime, according to seven current and former members of the team.

These employees, some of whom spoke to the Guardian because they said efforts to raise concerns internally were ignored, alleged that the unpaid work was a symptom of the workplace culture put in place by the executive who founded Pygmalion. That executive, Linne Ha, was fired by Google in March following an internal investigation, Google said. Ha could not be reached for comment before publication. She contacted the Guardian after publication and said her departure had not been related to unpaid overtime.</p>


The depressing reality is how Wizard-of-Oz these assistants seem to be: ignore the temp worker behind the curtain.
google  ai  assistant  bots  machinelearning 
4 weeks ago by charlesarthur

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