Almond: Open Personal Assistant From Stanford (Hackaday)

Hackaday: Almond: Open Personal Assistant From Stanford. “The current state of virtual personal assistants — Alexa, Cortana, Google, and Siri — leaves something to be desired. The speech recognition is mostly pretty good. However, customization options are very limited. Beyond that, many people are worried about the privacy of their data when using one of these assistants. Stanford Open Virtual Assistant Lab has rolled out Almond, which is open and is reported to have better privacy features.”

TechCrunch: Cortana wants to be your personal executive assistant and read your emails to you, too

TechCrunch: Cortana wants to be your personal executive assistant and read your emails to you, too. “Only a few years ago, Microsoft hoped that Cortana could become a viable competitor to the Google Assistant, Alexa and Siri . Over time, as Cortana failed to make a dent in the marketplace (do you ever remember that Cortana is built into your Windows 10 machine?), the company’s ambitions shrunk a bit. Today, Microsoft wants Cortana to be your personal productivity assistant — and to be fair, given the overall Microsoft ecosystem, Cortana may be better suited to that than to tell you about the weather.”

TechCrunch: Microsoft launches Power Virtual Agents, its no-code bot builder

TechCrunch: Microsoft launches Power Virtual Agents, its no-code bot builder. “Microsoft today announced the public preview of its Power Virtual Agents tool, a new no-code tool for building chatbots that’s part of the company’s Power Platform, which also includes Microsoft Flow automation tool, which is being renamed to Power Automate today, and Power BI.”

Search Engine Journal: Study Finds Virtual Assistants Are Getting Worse at Answering Questions Correctly

Search Engine Journal: Study Finds Virtual Assistants Are Getting Worse at Answering Questions Correctly . “A new study suggests the performance of virtual assistants, like Google Assistant, Alexa, and Siri, may have plateaued. Perficient Digital released its annual evaluation of virtual assistants. Perhaps the most interesting finding is that none of the top virtual assistants are improving when it comes to answering questions accurately.”

The Guardian: BBC to launch Alexa rival that will grasp regional accents

The Guardian: BBC to launch Alexa rival that will grasp regional accents. “The BBC is preparing to launch a rival to Amazon’s Alexa called Beeb, with a pledge that it will understand British accents. The voice assistant, which has been created by an in-house BBC team, will be launched next year, with a focus on enabling people to find their favourite programmes and interact with online services.”

‘Alexa, Monitor My Heart’: Researchers Develop First Contactless Cardiac Arrest AI System for Smart Speakers (Newswise)

Newswise: ‘Alexa, Monitor My Heart’: Researchers Develop First Contactless Cardiac Arrest AI System for Smart Speakers. “Researchers at the University of Washington have developed a new tool to monitor people for cardiac arrest while they’re asleep without touching them. A new skill for a smart speaker— like Google Home and Amazon Alexa — or smartphone lets the device detect the gasping sound of agonal breathing and call for help..”

Search Engine Land: Is voice over-hyped? A new survey suggests lower adoption than previously thought

Search Engine Land: Is voice over-hyped? A new survey suggests lower adoption than previously thought. “A popular Bill Gates quotation reads, ‘Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.’ That’s often invoked to suggest new technologies don’t change things as quickly as expected but will have a longer-term impact. Such is the case with voice and virtual assistants.”