Engadget: AI can identify objects based on verbal descriptions

Engadget: AI can identify objects based on verbal descriptions. “Modern speech recognition is clunky and often requires massive amounts of annotations and transcriptions to help understand what you’re referencing. There might, however, be a more natural way: teaching the algorithms to recognize things much like you would a child. Scientists have devised a machine learning system that can identify objects in a scene based on their description. Point out a blue shirt in an image, for example, and it can highlight the clothing without any transcriptions involved.”

Ars Technica: Researchers show Alexa “skill squatting” could hijack voice commands

Ars Technica: Researchers show Alexa “skill squatting” could hijack voice commands. “The success of Internet of Things devices such as Amazon’s Echo and Google Home have created an opportunity for developers to build voice-activated applications that connect ever deeper—into customers’ homes and personal lives. And—according to research by a team from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC)—the potential to exploit some of the idiosyncrasies of voice-recognition machine-learning systems for malicious purposes has grown as well.”

Say ‘Aloha’: A closer look at Facebook’s voice ambitions (TechCrunch)

TechCrunch: Say ‘Aloha’: A closer look at Facebook’s voice ambitions. “Facebook has been a bit slow to adopt the voice computing revolution. It has no voice assistant, its smart speaker is still in development, and some apps like Instagram aren’t fully equipped for audio communication. But much of that is set to change judging by experiments discovered in Facebook’s code, plus new patent filings.”

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.”

Search Engine Journal: Google Assistant is More Accurate Than Alexa, Siri, and Cortana

Search Engine Journal: Google Assistant is More Accurate Than Alexa, Siri, and Cortana. “Google Assistant is the most accurate smartphone digital assistant, beating Amazon Alexa, Apple’s Siri, and Microsoft Cortana. A report released this week from Loup Ventures contains data from a digital assistant test, which measures how well the four competitors answered a series of 800 queries.”

How-To Geek: You Can Now Schedule Custom Routines in Google Home

How-To Geek: You Can Now Schedule Custom Routines in Google Home. “A few months ago, Google added a feature to Google Assistant called Custom Routines that allows users to create strings of commands that can be executed with just a single phrase. Starting today, you can schedule those commands. The new scheduling option is found inside the Routines menu, though it’s worth noting that it’s only available for new routines, not ones that were created before the feature was live. That means you’ll need to recreate your existing routines if you’d like to schedule them. Bummer.”

Using Voice Recognition in Genealogy: Names and dates and places (Genealogy’s Star)

Genealogy’s Star: Using Voice Recognition in Genealogy: Names and dates and places. “Over the years, I have used voice recognition software off and on, always hoping that it would become the solution to quickly entering information so that I could avoid typing. Most recently, voice recognition software has become ubiquitous with smartphones and apps such as Siri and Google Assistant or one of the many other such programs. For example, when I get a phone message on my iPhone, the message is automatically transcribed into text.”