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robertogreco : siri   10

The Bot Power List 2016 — How We Get To Next
"Science fiction is full of bots that hurt people. HAL 9000 kills one astronaut and tries to kill another in 2001: A Space Odyssey; Ava in Ex Machina expertly manipulates the humans she meets to try and escape her cell; the T-800 is known as The Terminator for obvious reasons.

Even more common, though, are those bots clever and sentient enough to have real personality but undone through their naïveté — from Johnny Five in Short Circuit to the robotic cop in RoboCop, sci-fi is great at examining the dangers of greater intelligence when it’s open to manipulation or lacking concrete moral direction. A smarter bot, a more powerful bot, is also a bot that has more power to do evil things, and in the process expose human hubris.

These are all fictional examples, of course, but since we’re starting to see the tech industry shift its focus toward conversational bots as the future of, well, everything, maybe it offers us a useful way to define the power that a bot has. In this case, we’ll say that a bot is powerful if it could do powerfully evil things if it wanted to.

We’ve asked a number of experts to suggest what they think are the most powerful bots around today, in what is still an early stage for the industry. Together, those suggestions make up our first-ever Bot Power List."
bots  2016  googlenow  alexa  siri  ai  xiaoic  wordsmith  watson  hellobarbie  jillwatson  viv  cortana  amazon  apple  google  microsoft  facebook  eliza  luvo  lark  quartznwws  hala  cyberlover  murdock  bendixon  brucewilcox  neomy  deepdrumpf  rbs  josephweizenbaum  irenechang  ibm  mattel 
june 2016 by robertogreco
Microsoft's Radical Bet On A New Type Of Design Thinking | Co.Design | business + design
"De los Reyes wasn’t proposing that Microsoft become a sidewalk company. He was proposing a metaphor. He was hoping to find the digital world’s equivalent of the curb cut, something elegant that let everyone live a little easier. At a meeting of Shum’s top deputies, de los Reyes mooted this idea of making Microsoft’s design accessible to all. On its face, this idea flattered Microsoft’s culture. Remember how Windows famously let you adjust the setting on almost anything you wanted, while Apple didn’t? That wasn’t an accident, but rather the perfect expression of Microsoft’s abiding belief, descended from the great garage-hacker Bill Gates, that users should be able to adjust everything they touched as they saw fit. So for Microsofties, it was only natural to think that users, including the disabled, should have as many settings as they wanted. But de los Reyes was after something more ambitious. Kat Holmes, there at the meeting with Shum, supplied another puzzle piece."



"One of Holmes’ first insights was that she didn’t have to figure out all these problems on her own. Other people already had. After all, real personal assistants think every day about getting their clients to trust them, providing the right information at the right time, being helpful before you’ve been asked. So Holmes sought them out. She found real personal assistants who’d served demanding clients ranging from celebrities to billionaires. By studying how they delicately cultivated trust, Holmes was able to recommend a series of behaviors for Cortana. The best personal assistants have logs about client preferences, but they’re also transparent about why they’re recommending certain things. Thus, Cortana, unlike Siri or Google Now, has a log of all the preference data that it has extrapolated about you, which users can edit. Cortana also behaves like a human would, though she doesn’t quite have a personality: Instead of simply giving you a flippant joke when befuddled by a question, like Siri does, Cortana admits to what she does and doesn’t know. She asks you to teach her, just like a trustworthy personal assistant would.

The point wasn’t simply to copy what those personal assistants did, it was to figure out why they were doing what they did. Instead of tackling a thorny problem head on, Holmes had found an analogue to give structure to what she was doing, to provide a framework for the endeavor.

And then Holmes saw the movie Her, a visionary sci-fi film in which a love-lorn everyman played by Joaquin Phoenix falls in love with a digital assistant voiced by Scarlett Johansson. Holmes wangled her way into a connection with the movie’s production designer, K.K. Barrett, and asked him how he’d come up with such a credible-looking vision of the future—one which, in fact, she’d been working on even as the movie was being shot. Barrett answered with a curveball: He said that to make the technology look futuristic, he’d taken everything out that was technology. His approach was to simply let the director Spike Jonze focus only on what was human. All at once, Holmes saw it: She figured that in trying to understand how computers should interact with humans, the best guide was how humans interacted with humans."



"De los Reyes and Holmes, with the help of design experts including Allen Sayegh at Harvard and Jutta Treviranus at the Ontario College of Art and Design, eventually hit upon a vein of design thinking descended from Pat Moore, and universal design. Dubbed inclusive design, it begins with studying overlooked communities, ranging from dyslexics to the deaf. By learning about how they adapt to their world, the hope is that you can actually build better new products for everyone else.

What’s more, by finding more analogues between tribes of people outside the mainstream and situations that we’ve all found ourselves in, you can come up with all kinds of new products. The big idea is that in order to build machines that adapt to humans better, there needs to be a more robust process for watching how humans adapt to each other, and to their world. "The point isn’t to solve for a problem," such as typing when you’re blind, said Holmes. "We're flipping it." They are finding the expertise and ingenuity that arises naturally, when people are forced to live a life differently from most."



"As promising as these smaller projects might be, Holmes and de los Reyes believe there is a bigger opportunity. Today, we are drowning in interactions with smartphones and devices, such as our cars and homes—all of which suddenly want to talk to our phones as well. We live in a world of countless transitions. Instead of one device, there is actually an infinite number of hands-off between devices. There needs to be a new kind of design process to manage those seams. "The assumptions about computing are that our devices are one-on-one with visual interactions," Holmes points out. "The design discipline is built around those assumptions. They assume that we’re one person all the time."

Holmes believes that inclusive design, by bringing a diverse set of users into a design process that typically strips away differences and abstracts them into what seems user-friendly to the maximum number of people, can actually help with the fact that our capabilities change throughout the day. We don’t simply have a persona, fixed in time and plastered on a storyboard, like most design processes would have it. We have a persona spectrum. When you’re a parent with a sprained wrist, or you’re reaching for your phone while holding your groceries, you share a world, albeit briefly, with someone who has only ever been able to use one hand. "There is no such thing as a normal human," Holmes says. "Our capabilities are always changing."

The hope is that in seeking out new people to include in the design process, we can smooth away the gaps that bedevil our digital lives. Which brings to mind Pellegrino Turri and his typewriter, Alexander Graham Bell with his telephone, and Vint Cerf and email—these were inventors who all started with the disabled in mind but eventually helped everyone else. The difference is that while each of those inventors stumbled upon an analogue that helped them invent something that everyone else could use, Microsoft is starting with the analogues. They're seeking out the disabled and the different, confident that they've already invented exactly the solutions that the rest of us need.

For de los Reyes, the promise of this new design process isn't in just a better Microsoft: "If we're successful, we're going to change the way products are designed across the industry. Period. That's my vision.""
disability  microsoft  design  conversationalui  accessibility  2016  augustdelosreyes  cortana  siri  googlenow  katholmes  ux  ui  interface  juttatreviranus  allensayegh  julielarson-green  albertshum  stayanadella  normal  inclusivedesign  incluive  inclusivity  disabilities 
march 2016 by robertogreco
Why Do I Have to Call This App ‘Julie’? - The New York Times
"Technologies speak with recorded feminine voices because women “weren’t normally there to be heard,” Helen Hester, a media studies lecturer at Middlesex University, told me. A woman’s voice stood out. For example, an automated recording of a woman’s voice used in cockpit navigation becomes a beacon, a voice in stark contrast with that of everyone else, when all the pilots on board are men.

Ms. Hester lives in London, where the spectral sound of robotic women is piping from nearly every corner. Enter the Underground and you hear a disembodied woman announcing “the next station is Mornington Crescent” and the train’s signature canned message, “please mind the gap between the train and the platform.”

A similar voice — emotionless, timeless, with an accent difficult to place — emits from clocks and traffic lights, and inside elevators and supermarkets. The “coldness, the forthrightness of the voice” is what Ms. Hester finds striking. What human speaks with such emotionless authority? And, as Ms. Hester points out: “It’s not real authority. There’s a maternal edge to all of it. It is personal guidance rather than definite directions.”

And, she says, these voices can even play into people’s expectations of male authority because they aren’t actual women. People hear a woman’s voice, realize it is robotic, and “imagine a male programmer” did the actual work.

No one seems to market tech products in the image of the most famous virtual assistant in film history. Hal from “2001: A Space Odyssey” was so brilliant and manly that it attempted to kill off the crew of the spacecraft it was built to manage. Instead, people build what I call “Stepford apps.” These are the Internet’s answer to those old sci-fi robots in dresses mopping floors with manufactured enthusiasm."
ai  artificialintelligence  gender  joannemcneil  voices  siri  cortana  alexa  2015  sexism  apple  amazon  microsoft 
december 2015 by robertogreco
How One Boy With Autism Became BFF With Apple’s Siri - NYTimes.com
"For most of us, Siri is merely a momentary diversion. But for some, it’s more. My son’s practice conversation with Siri is translating into more facility with actual humans. Yesterday I had the longest conversation with him that I’ve ever had. Admittedly, it was about different species of turtles and whether I preferred the red-eared slider to the diamond-backed terrapin. This might not have been my choice of topic, but it was back and forth, and it followed a logical trajectory. I can promise you that for most of my beautiful son’s 13 years of existence, that has not been the case.

The developers of intelligent assistants recognize their uses to those with speech and communication problems — and some are thinking of new ways the assistants can help. According to the folks at SRI International, the research and development company where Siri began before Apple bought the technology, the next generation of virtual assistants will not just retrieve information — they will also be able to carry on more complex conversations about a person’s area of interest. “Your son will be able to proactively get information about whatever he’s interested in without asking for it, because the assistant will anticipate what he likes,” said William Mark, vice president for information and computing sciences at SRI.

The assistant will also be able to reach children where they live. Ron Suskind, whose new book, “Life, Animated,” chronicles how his autistic son came out of his shell through engagement with Disney characters, is talking to SRI about having assistants for those with autism that can be programmed to speak in the voice of the character that reaches them — for his son, perhaps Aladdin; for mine, either Kermit or Lady Gaga, either of which he is infinitely more receptive to than, say, his mother. (Mr. Suskind came up with the perfect name, too: not virtual assistants, but “sidekicks.”)

Mr. Mark said he envisions assistants whose help is also visual. “For example, the assistant would be able to track eye movements and help the autistic learn to look you in the eye when talking,” he said.

“See, that’s the wonderful thing about technology being able to help with some of these behaviors,” he added. “Getting results requires a lot of repetition. Humans are not patient. Machines are very, very patient.”

I asked Mr. Mark if he knew whether any of the people who worked on Siri’s language development at Apple were on the spectrum. “Well, of course, I don’t know for certain,” he said, thoughtfully. “But, when you think about it, you’ve just described half of Silicon Valley.”

Of all the worries the parent of an autistic child has, the uppermost is: Will he find love? Or even companionship? Somewhere along the line, I am learning that what gives my guy happiness is not necessarily the same as what gives me happiness. Right now, at his age, a time when humans can be a little overwhelming even for the average teenager, Siri makes Gus happy. She is his sidekick. Last night, as he was going to bed, there was this matter-of-fact exchange:

Gus: “Siri, will you marry me?”

Siri: “I’m not the marrying kind.”

Gus: “I mean, not now. I’m a kid. I mean when I’m grown up.”

Siri: “My end user agreement does not include marriage.”

Gus: “Oh, O.K.”

Gus didn’t sound too disappointed. This was useful information to have, and for me too, since it was the first time I knew that he actually thought about marriage. He turned over to go to sleep:

Gus: “Goodnight, Siri. Will you sleep well tonight?”

Siri: “I don’t need much sleep, but it’s nice of you to ask.”

Very nice."
ios  siri  apple  autism  companionship  sidekicks  audio  technology  voice  2014  judithnewman 
october 2014 by robertogreco
[this is aaronland] signs of life [These quotes are only from the beginning. I recommend reading the whole thing.]
"I've been thinking a lot about motive & intent for the last few years. How we recognize motive &… how we measure its consequence.

This is hardly uncharted territory. You can argue easily enough that it remains the core issue that all religion, philosophy & politics struggle with. Motive or trust within a community of individuals.

…Bruce Schneier…writes:

"In today's complex society, we often trust systems more than people. It's not so much that I trusted the plumber at my door as that I trusted the systems that produced him & protect me."

I often find myself thinking about motive & consequence in the form of a very specific question: Who is allowed to speak on behalf of an organization?

To whom do we give not simply the latitude of interpretation, but the luxury of association, with the thing they are talking about …

Institutionalizing or formalizing consequence is often a way to guarantee an investment but that often plows head-first in to the subtlies of real-life."

[Video here: https://vimeo.com/51515289 ]
dunbartribes  schrodinger'sbox  scale  francisfukuyama  capitalism  industrialrevolution  technology  rules  control  algorithms  creepiness  siri  drones  robots  cameras  sensors  robotreadableworld  humans  patterns  patternrecognition  patternmatching  gerhardrichter  robotics  johnpowers  dia:beacon  jonathanwallace  portugal  lisbon  brandjacking  branding  culturalheritage  culture  joannemcneil  jamesbridle  future  politics  philosophy  religion  image  collections  interpretation  representation  complexity  consequences  cooper-hewitt  photography  filters  instagram  flickr  museums  systemsthinking  systems  newaesthetic  voice  risk  bruceschneier  2012  aaronstraupcope  aaron  intent  motive  storiesfromthenewaesthetic  canon 
october 2012 by robertogreco
William Gibson: on Atemporality — The High Bar
"William Gibson‘s writing is timeless. For mortals, conquering time is a Quixotic endeavor, only imaginable with the aid of good religion, better hallucinogens or great science fiction.

Today(?), Mr. Gibson walks into The High Bar and joins me to raise a toast to and raise the bar for… atemporality. Will time stand still and if so, what impact will it have on our memories, intimate or communal?

The legendary author (Neuromancer; Pattern Recognition) discusses his childhood, his craft and his hope for a future he has never truly predicted, even within the pages of his recent collection of articles and essays, Distrust That Particular Flavor."
self-projection  love  siri  technology  culture  prostheticmemory  fascism  patternrecognition  speculative  history  time  memory  nostalgia  distrustthatparticularflavor  monoculture  childhood  warrenetheredge  scifi  sciencefiction  williamgibson  2012  atemporality  conservatism 
july 2012 by robertogreco
BUS YOUR OWN TRAY — On the Virtue of Brevity in Email
"Long emails are, more frequently than not, the worst. When you send someone an email, you make a demand on their time. If you use more words than necessary, you waste their time. Sure we’re talking maybe a fraction of a minute, but given the number of emails the average person sends in a day those fractions add up pretty quick.

This conflicts with an older style of correspondence that associated pleasantries with tact. Tactful emails now are efficient, and pleasantries are a waste. People accustomed to pleasantries see their absence as rude, or a sign of being cross. They infer a tone that isn’t there, while people accustomed to brevity know how difficult it can be to ascertain tone from an email.

The efficient emailer often has to conform to the old style to assuage hurt feelings. This is just as terrible as the other thing, because it requires the sender to waste time and energy creating more words than necessary…"
etiquette  norms  texting  twitter  change  cultureshifts  brevity  2012  adamlisagor  siri  communication  email  ericspiegelman 
july 2012 by robertogreco
lonelysandwich - Human-computer-human interaction
"As we learn to speak to Siri, we’ll learn more about how we formulate ideas into words, how to express those so that they may be understood with less margin of error, ultimately shortening the gap between intention and comprehension.

It’s safe to assume that as we learn to talk to Siri, Siri learns to listen to us. So we’re not simply assimilating with the robot culture, we’re fostering a new understanding between our vastly different types of intelligence.

Which is to say, Siri will teach us how to talk to Siri but maybe more importantly, how to talk to each other."

[via: http://spiegelman.tumblr.com/post/27082261842/on-the-virtue-of-brevity-in-email ]
human  interaction  language  accuracy  intention  comprehension  robots  2012  clarity  communication  lonelysandwich  adamlisagor  siri  apple 
july 2012 by robertogreco
Why Siri Is (Probably) So Good • Quisby
"If anybody’s wondering why Siri is so good when the 4S comes out in a few weeks, this is almost certainly why. (I highly doubt the iPhone’s CPU isn’t capable of processing speech recognition on its own. And I just heard Gruber on 5by5 live speculating that the phone takes a first pass at interpreting the Siri command before sending it to the cloud, suggesting the cloud isn’t there for interpretation, having actually used it.) Pretty interesting—and, ultimately, unsurprising—that Google and Apple are responsible for what are probably the biggest advances in speech recognition in decades. Fuck your stupid iPhone 5 rumours, this is some insane future shit."
siri  apple  2011  iphone  ios  google  speechrecognition  ai  richardgaywood  technology 
october 2011 by robertogreco

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