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jerryking : personal_assistants   17

Alexa: how can I be a better office worker?
March 12, 2018 | FT | Richard Waters in San Francisco

Amazon has announced that its Alexa voice service was now ready for business use, four months after it first disclosed the technology was being adapted to become a language interface for general work tasks.

The attempt to turn Alexa into a mainstream interface for office computing opens a new front in the battle with Microsoft, already its main rival in the cloud computing market.

“It looks as though Amazon is stomping all over Microsoft’s patch even though they did an alliance between Alexa and Cortana,” said Richard Windsor, an independent tech analyst.

The alliance linking the two company’s digital assistants, announced in August last year, was meant to let Alexa users call on tasks handled by Cortana, and vice versa. However, it has yet to result in a working link, and Amazon’s push to win over office workers — Microsoft’s core users — has intensified competition between the two companies.....To prepare Alexa for office use, Amazon had added a management layer and allowed companies to create applications, or “skills”, that can integrate with the voice interface while at the same time keeping them private.
Amazon  Microsoft  Alexa  workplaces  Cortana  voice_assistants  personal_assistants  chatbots  voice_interfaces  Richard_Waters 
march 2018 by jerryking
Amazon Echo Review: Second Generation, Still in First Place
Oct. 25, 2017 | WSJ | By Joanna Stern

Head of the Class

The real reason to buy an Echo has nothing to do with good looks or mics. It’s all about invisible Alexa. Generally speaking, all of Alexa’s smarts work on all the devices. And in the AI-assistant race against Google and Apple, Amazon has kept its early lead in some key areas:

* A deep ecosystem. With over 25,000 voice apps, or “skills,” and multiple hardware partners integrating Alexa, Amazon’s AI platform has become the most advanced voice operating system. Google has made some headway with third-party apps, but Alexa still has the edge with more news, ride-hailing, to-do list and kitchen-friendly apps. Google’s Assistant, however, does excel at answering random questions better. Come on, Alexa, you should know wool doesn’t go in the dryer.
* A smarter smart home. Amazon still has Google beat in smart-home control. Case in point: Alexa devices work with more connected thermostat brands than Google Home does. If you are especially interested in smart home, check out the $150 Echo Plus. It has all of the new Echo’s refinements, plus built-in wireless technology for home control without the need for third-party hubs.
* A stream of new features. Earlier this month, Echos got the ability to recognize multiple voices; your voice becomes a password. When I want to reorder breath mints, Alexa knows me and doesn’t ask for a PIN. Back in May, Amazon turned Alexa into a telephone operator: You can call others with the Alexa app or with an Echo. In June, Alexa got the ability to name different kitchen timers (one for the Brussels sprouts, one for the chicken). Reminder: Google Home has a number of these features as well. And Siri still can’t set multiple timers.

Despite Amazon’s lead, the Alexa apps for iOS and Android are in dire need of a redesign. Finding controls you want is harder than finding your bag at baggage claim. The Settings menu itself feels like an entirely different app. I made a video to show how voice recognition works, partly because it confused me so much at first.
Amazon_Echo  Alexa  Apple_HomePod  Google_Home  virtual_assistants  personal_assistants  voice_assistants  smart_homes  Siri  connected_devices  artificial_intelligence  voice_interfaces 
october 2017 by jerryking
Bots, the next frontier
Apr 9th 2016 | The Economist

“chatbots”. These are text-based services which let users complete tasks such as checking news, organising meetings, ordering food or booking a flight by sending short messages. Bots are usually powered by artificial intelligence (hence the name, as in “robot”), but may also rely on humans.
bots  instant_messaging  mobile_applications  chatbots  artificial_intelligence  personal_assistants  virtual_assistants 
april 2016 by jerryking
Meet Viv: the AI that wants to read your mind and run your life | Technology | The Guardian
Zoë Corbyn
Sunday 31 January
Viv, a three-year-old AI startup backed by $30m, including funds from Iconiq Capital, which helps manage the fortunes of Mark Zuckerberg and other wealthy tech executives. In a blocky office building in San Jose’s downtown, the company is working on what Kittlaus describes as a “global brain” – a new form of voice-controlled virtual personal assistant. With the odd flashes of personality, Viv will be able to perform thousands of tasks, and it won’t just be stuck in a phone but integrated into everything from fridges to cars. “Tell Viv what you want and it will orchestrate this massive network of services that will take care of it,” he says.....But, Kittlaus says, all these virtual assistants he helped birth are limited in their capabilities. Enter Viv. “What happens when you have a system that is 10,000 times more capable?” he asks. “It will shift the economics of the internet.”....The future, as Etzioni sees it, belongs to the company that can make a personal assistant something like a good hotel concierge: someone you can have a sophisticated dialogue with, get high quality recommendations from and who will then take care of every aspect of booking an evening out for you.
artificial_intelligence  start_ups  Siri  orchestration  virtual_assistants  voice_interfaces  voice_recognition  personal_assistants  bots  chatbots 
april 2016 by jerryking
Davos diary: A new angst settles over the world's elites - The Globe and Mail
John Stackhouse - Editor-in-Chief

Davos, Switzerland — The Globe and Mail

Published Friday, Jan. 24 2014,

Another machine revolution is upon us. There is a new wave forming behind the past decade’s surge of mobile technology, with disruptive technologies like driverless cars and automated personal medical assistants that will not only change lifestyles but rattle economies and change pretty much every assumption about work....For all the talk of growth, though, the global economy is also in an employment morass that has the smartest people in the room humbled and anxious. The rebound is not producing jobs and pay increases to the degree that many of them expected. Most governments are tapped out, fiscally, and can only call on the private sector – “the innovators” – to do more....If a 3-D printer can kneecap your construction industry, or an AI-powered sensor put to pasture half your nurses, what hope is there for old-fashioned job creation?

The new digital divide – it used to be about access, now it’s about employment – stands to further isolate the millions of long-term jobless people in Europe and North America, many of whom have left the workforce and won’t be getting calls when jobs come back.... Say’s Law--a theory that says successful products create their own demand.
creating_demand  Davos  John_Stackhouse  Say’s_Law  Eric_Schmidt  Google  McKinsey  creative_destruction  Joseph_Schumpeter  unemployment  machine_learning  disruption  autonomous_vehicles  bots  chatbots  artificial_intelligence  personal_assistants  virtual_assistants  job_creation  digital_disruption  joblessness  fault_lines  global_economy 
january 2014 by jerryking

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