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.”

New York Times: Stanford Team Aims at Alexa and Siri With a Privacy-Minded Alternative

New York Times: Stanford Team Aims at Alexa and Siri With a Privacy-Minded Alternative. “It has been almost two decades since Google started to dominate internet search the way Microsoft dominated software for personal computers a generation earlier. Now computer scientists at Stanford University are warning about the consequences of a race to control what they believe will be the next key consumer technology market — virtual assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant.”

Forbes: Hey Siri! Could Virtual Assistants Be The Missing Link In Internet Accessibility?

Forbes: Hey Siri! Could Virtual Assistants Be The Missing Link In Internet Accessibility?. “How many people start their day by saying ‘Alexa, what’s the weather outside today?’ and end it by saying, ‘Hey Siri! Set an alarm for 6:30 in the morning.’? It is predicted that by 2020, almost half of all internet searches will be done by voice. While Voice User Interface (VUI) is simply more convenient for the majority of its users, it could be absolutely game-changing for the millions of illiterate people across Sub-Saharan Africa and around the world.”

Chronicle of Higher Education: Hey, Alexa, Should We Bring Virtual Assistants to Campus? These Colleges Gave Them a Shot

Chronicle of Higher Education: Hey, Alexa, Should We Bring Virtual Assistants to Campus? These Colleges Gave Them a Shot. “Research universities are squeezing an extra roommate into residence halls: Amazon’s Alexa. The Georgia Institute of Technology, Northeastern University, and Arizona State University last year provided students with Echo Dots, puck-shaped, voice-activated devices programmed to answer campus-specific questions about meal plans and business hours for campus buildings.”

The Verge Takes M For a Spin

The Verge goes hands-on with Facebook’s virtual assistant, M. “Facebook M, the social network’s text-based virtual assistant, is only in its infancy, but I couldn’t help feeling like Her’s Theodore Twombly when I had it order me a sausage breakfast burrito. I didn’t even have to open a new browser tab, but I did have to go pick it up down the street — Amazon is trying to solve that problem via drones, I’m told. But it was still a good example of how Facebook, through a natural evolution of its software, has begun intertwining with our basic wants and needs.”