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jerryking : virtual_assistants   21

What will Apple do without Jony Ive?
June 27, 2019 | Financial Times | by Tim Bradshaw, Global Technology Correspondent.

Sir Jonathan prepares to move on from Apple to launch his own new venture, LoveFrom, after more than two decades at the Silicon Valley giant.....As a company worth nearly $1tn, Apple today is financially secure. But Sir Jonathan's looming departure will once again raise questions about its future. 

This is not the first time that Sir Jonathan’s role has evolved. In recent years, his design expertise has extended beyond crafting Apple’s pocketable devices. He helped retail chief Angela Ahrendts overhaul its stores, from fixtures such as its tree-lined “Genius Groves”, down to simplifying product packaging. 

More significantly, he oversaw the company’s long-planned move to its new headquarters, Apple Park, which was first conceived with Jobs back in 2004 and designed in partnership with British architects Foster + Partners.....Speaking at a Wired magazine event in 2018, he appeared to suggest that he was back for the long haul, saying: “There’s an awful lot to do and an awful lot of opportunity.” ....Apple Park...brought Apple’s entire design team together for the first time into one purpose-built studio, with industrial designers sitting side by side with font and interface designers......Perhaps the most important legacy that Jon Ive leaves . . . is the team.”.......By Apple’s outsized standards, the tight-knit group of people who work on product design is small. It runs to just a few dozen people out of an organisation that employs some 132,000 staff.....
Yet the team wields a disproportionate influence inside the Cupertino-based company. With an extensive array of tooling and fabrication equipment that is rarely found outside a manufacturing plant, the studio explores new product categories and the materials that might build them, from unique blends of aluminium to ceramics. 

They define not only a product’s appearance but how its software looks and feels, how it responds to gestures, even how an iPhone or Watch gently vibrates to give a user “haptic feedback”. 

“No group within Apple has more power than the industrial designers,” ......Jonathan Ive has thousands of patents to his name, encompassing the original iPod and iPhone to more obscure innovations, including the iPad’s magnetic cover, the Apple Store’s wooden tables and a lanyard used to attach an iPod to a wrist......Jonathan’s departure is likely to reopen a debate that has been simmering for several years — namely how will Apple come up with a new hit product that can match the unprecedented success of the iPhone, whose record-breaking profits propelled Apple to become the first trillion-dollar company last year........it may be that no single product ever will top the iPhone — for any tech company, not just Apple. It is a question that hangs over Silicon Valley as the industry casts around for a new platform, be it virtual reality or smart speakers, that might become as ubiquitous and essential as the smartphone.........Apple is also putting greater attention on an expanding portfolio of online services, including games, news and video........Tim Cook and Jonathan Ive have both pointed to healthcare as a potential new market for Apple, building on the Watch’s new capabilities for detecting heart irregularities.....Healthcare is just one example of how the battleground has changed for Apple in recent years. Despite pioneering virtual assistants with Siri, Apple found itself outflanked by Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant in both sales of smart speakers and artificial intelligence capabilities.

New blood at Apple

Some analysts believe that new blood could invigorate Apple’s response to these challenges. Alongside the high-profile departures of Ms Ahrendts and Sir Jonathan, Apple poached John Giannandrea from Google to become its head of machine learning and AI strategy, as well as Hollywood veterans Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amberg from Sony Pictures Television to run its push into original video. 

“The apparent acceleration in the pace of change within Apple at the executive level reflects the paradigm shift the company is undergoing from a hardware-driven story to ‘Apple as a service’,....... the most significant concern for investors will be that Sir Jonathan’s departure will take away another arbiter of focus and product direction that Apple had already lost with the death of Jobs.....Jonathan’s focus is growing beyond the steel and glass borders of Apple Park, saying he wants to “solve some complicated problems”. .....“One defining characteristics is almost a fanatical curiosity,” he said. “But if you don’t have the space, if you don’t have the tools and the infrastructure, that curiosity can often not have the opportunity to be pursued.”

LoveFrom itself defies traditional categorisation. “I have no interest in creating yet another design agency,” he said firmly. “What’s important is the values and what motivates that collection of people …Small groups of people, I think as Apple has demonstrated over the years, can do some extraordinary things.”

 

 

 
Alexa  Apple  Apple_IDs  Apple_Park  artificial_intelligence  breakthroughs  curiosity  design  departures  exits  Google_Assistant  haptics  healthcare  Jonathan_Ive  LoveFrom  new_categories  new_products  patents  services  Silicon_Valley  Siri  smart_speakers  subscriptions  teams  Tim_Cook  virtual_assistants 
june 2019 by jerryking
Opinion | Warning! Everything Is Going Deep: ‘The Age of Surveillance Capitalism’
Jan. 29, 2019 | The New York Times | By Thomas L. Friedman, Opinion Columnist.

Recent advances in the speed and scope of digitization, connectivity, big data and artificial intelligence are now taking us “deep” into places and into powers that we’ve never experienced before — and that governments have never had to regulate before. I’m talking about deep learning, deep insights, deep surveillance, deep facial recognition, deep voice recognition, deep automation and deep artificial minds.

Some of these technologies offer unprecedented promise and some unprecedented peril — but they’re all now part of our lives. Everything is going deep........how did we get so deep down where the sharks live?

The short answer: Technology moves up in steps, and each step, each new platform, is usually biased toward a new set of capabilities. Around the year 2000 we took a huge step up that was biased toward connectivity, because of the explosion of fiber-optic cable, wireless and satellites.

Suddenly connectivity became so fast, cheap, easy for you and ubiquitous that it felt like you could touch someone whom you could never touch before and that you could be touched by someone who could never touch you before.

Around 2007, we took another big step up. The iPhone, sensors, digitization, big data, the internet of things, artificial intelligence and cloud computing melded together and created a new platform that was biased toward abstracting complexity at a speed, scope and scale we’d never experienced before.....as big data got really big, as broadband got really fast, as algorithms got really smart, as 5G got actually deployed, artificial intelligence got really intelligent. So now, with no touch — but just a voice command or machines acting autonomously — we can go so much deeper in so many areas....DeepMind, the artificial intelligence arm of Google’s parent, developed an A.I. program, AlphaGo, that has now defeated the world’s top human players of the ancient strategy game Go — which is much more complex than chess — by learning from human play......Today “virtual agents” — using conversational interfaces powered by artificial intelligence — can increasingly understand your intent... just by hearing your voice.....The percentage of calls a chatbot, or virtual agent, is able to handle without turning the caller over to a person is called its “containment rate,” and these rates are steadily soaring. ....But bad guys, who are always early adopters, also see the same potential to go deep in wholly new ways.....On Jan. 20, The London Observer looked at Harvard Business School professor Shoshana Zuboff’s new book, the title of which perfectly describes the deep dark waters we’ve entered: “The Age of Surveillance Capital.”....“Surveillance capitalism,” Zuboff wrote, “unilaterally claims human experience as free raw material for translation into behavioral data. Although some of these data are applied to service improvement, the rest are declared as a proprietary behavioral surplus, fed into advanced manufacturing processes known as ‘machine intelligence,’ and fabricated into prediction products that anticipate what you will do now, soon and later. Finally, these prediction products are traded in a new kind of marketplace that I call behavioral futures markets. Surveillance capitalists have grown immensely wealthy from these trading operations, for many companies are willing to lay bets on our future behavior.”
5G  algorithms  AlphaGo  artificial_intelligence  automation  books  chatbots  complexity  connectivity  dark_side  DeepMind  digitalization  gaming_the_system  human_experience  massive_data_sets  patterns  rogue_actors  surveillance_profiteers  surveillance_state  Tom_Friedman  trustworthiness  virtual_assistants 
january 2019 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
China gifts luxury a reprieve
29 April/30 April 2017 | FT Weekend | by Harriet Agnew and Tom Hancock

Chinese consumers, the drivers of global luxury for more than a decade, once travelled overseas to the European fashion capitals of Paris, London and Milan to take advantage of lower prices. Now they are increasingly inclined to spend at home. Last year Chinese consumers made two-thirds of their personal luxury goods purchases domestically, compared with roughly a third in 2013, according to the Boston Consulting Group.
.............In an era of lower growth, brands are trying to adapt to changing consumer demands and the disruption of digital while keeping the creative process at the heart of it. “Creativity and audacity is what allows you to elicit desire [and therefore sales] over the long run, telling a story that people want to discover, chapter after chapter,” says François-Henri Pinault, chairman and chief executive of Kering.
......Yet brands can no longer rely on opening lots of new stores to fuel growth. Instead they have to keep costs down, revamp their existing stores to make them more profitable, and seek new customers through avenues like digital.

“The business model of luxury has completely changed,” says Erwan Rambourg, global co-head of consumer and retail at HSBC in New York. “Either brands understand that and make the changes themselves, or they don’t and they leave themselves open to activism or M&A.”
.......Compared with other consumer brands, luxury has been late to the digital party. Phoebe Philo, the then creative director at fashion house Céline, told Vogue in 2013 that “the chicest thing is when you don’t exist on Google”. But that view now looks unsustainable.

Six out of 10 sales are digitally influenced, says BCG, which estimates that online commerce will grow from 7 per cent of the global personal luxury market today to 12 per cent by 2020.

Within digital, the holy grail is so-called omnichannel — the ability to offer a seamless experience to customers that blends digital and bricks-and-mortar stores, and includes initiatives like click-and-collect. “Blending the physical and the digital is the future of the online flagship stores,” says Federico Marchetti, chief executive of the YOOX Net-a-Porter Group.

The emphasis is on the customer experience. Net-a-Porter is launching a same-day delivery service in September for its top clients in London called, “You try, we wait.” Customers will be able to try on their online order at home or in the office while the delivery van waits outside.
......As e-commerce gathers steam and groups collect more and more data on their clients, the next stage is machine learning and artificial intelligence, believes Mr Marchetti. In this vision of the future algorithms will act as virtual shopping assistants, suggesting items that the customer might like, “enabling us to speak to each customer on an individual basis rather than to the whole customer base”, he says.

Luxury brands are also increasingly using blogs, online “influencers” and social media platforms such as Instagram to generate visibility and lure potential buyers.

All of this is happening at a time when the definition of what constitutes luxury is expanding beyond physical possessions to include experiences both as a competitor to, and opportunity for, the traditional houses.

“Luxury brands are now competing with the plastic surgeon and the luxury travel agent,” says Mr Rambourg. “For a similar price you can have a Louis Vuitton handbag, a facelift or a trip to the Maldives.”
....“Our pulse is the Chinese customer,” says LVMH’s Mr Guiony: “It made the sector worse a couple of years ago and it has made it better now. We have to be aware of that. Trees don’t grow to the sky.”
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luxury  brands  China  Chinese  China_rising  consumers  digital_disruption  e-commerce  travel_agents  BCG  growth  LVMH  watches  noughties  Yoox  customer_experience  WeChat  Burberry  digital_influencers  creativity  audacity  storytelling  omnichannel  artificial_intelligence  machine_learning  virtual_assistants  same-day 
may 2017 by jerryking
Your Lawyer May Soon Ask This AI-Powered App for Legal Help | WIRED
DAVEY ALBA BUSINESS DATE OF PUBLICATION: 08.07.15.
08.07.15

ROSS Intelligence is a voice recognition app powered by IBM Watson, the machine learning service based on the company’s Jeopardy-playing cognitive system, that doles out legal assistance.

The app is yet another example of the ways machine learning is infiltrating our everyday lives. These days, it’s not just AI algorithms themselves that have improved, but the ability to deliver them across the Internet that has made so many new applications possible.....Asking Natural Questions
Ross works much like Siri. Users can ask it any question the same way a client might—for instance, “If an employee has not been meeting sales targets and has not been able to complete the essentials of their employment, can they be terminated without notice?” The system sifts through its database of legal documents and spits out an answer paired with a confidence rating. Below the answer, a user can see the source documents from which Ross has pulled the information; if the response is accurate, you can hit a “thumbs up” button to save the source. Select “thumbs down” and Ross come up with another response.
technology  law  lawtech  lawyers  law_firms  machine_learning  voice_recognition  voice_interfaces  virtual_assistants  artificial_intelligence  Siri  IBM_Watson 
june 2016 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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