Recode: Expect to talk to your devices a lot more in the future. “If what we have seen in the first couple of days of CES is any indicator of what is in store for us in 2018, we can expect to be talking a lot. Most of the time, probably more like shouting commands right, left and center to devices scattered around our house, in the office and the car.”
Digital Inspiration: Voice Dictation – Type with your Voice. “Introducing the all-new Voice Dictation v2.0, a speech recognition app that lets you type with your voice. There’s no software to install, there’s no training required and all you need is Google Chrome on your Windows PC, Mac OS or Linux.”
The Next Web: AI learns how to fool text-to-speech. That’s bad news for voice assistants. “A pair of computer scientists at the University of California, Berkeley developed an AI-based attack that targets text-to-speech systems. With their method, no matter what an audio file sounds like, the text output will be whatever the attacker wants it to be. This one is pretty cool, but it’s also another entry for the ‘terrifying uses of AI’ category.”
The Next Web: It’s about time Alexa, Google, and Siri learn to play nice. “On one hand, I firmly believe in the utility of voice assistants. You really appreciate the hands-free experience when you need to set a timer while juggling two or three pans of burning food, or when you’re too lazy to get out of bed and find the remote. In theory, having more voice-enabled devices should make it more efficient to perform mundane tasks at home. On the other hand, there are just too many of them. At home, I have Google Assistant, Alexa, Bixby, Cortana, and Siri strewn across a variety of devices – and they don’t really get along.”
Chicago Tribune: In rare showing, Google arrives at CES to battle Alexa and Siri. “More than 3,900 companies are on hand to show off their latest technologies at CES this week, but there’s one giant name that stands out from the pack: Google. This is the first time in several years that the Mountain View, California, titan has had a big, stand-alone booth at the show and its presence not only reflects the changing dynamic of the show, but also serves as a declaration of war on the battlefield of digital assistants.”
TechCrunch: Google launches a new directory to help you discover Assistant actions. “Google says you can now perform more than a million actions with the Google Assistant. Those range from looking up photos with Google Photos to starting a meditation session from Headspace. But one problem with voice assistants is that it’s very hard to discover which actions you actually can perform. For many users, that means they use their Google Home or Alexa to set a few timers and maybe play music, without ever realizing what else they can do.”
I know this is a bit outside my remit, but I love it. “HEEEEEYYY GOO GOO”. From Mashable: When an 85-year-old grandmother learns to use Google Home, an angel gets its wings. “If you missed your grandmother this year, this video will probably make you feel a little better. YouTuber Ben Actis uploaded a video Wednesday of his 85-year-old Italian grandma trying to get acquainted with a new Google Home. Sure, her accent might get in the way, but she seems to have a difficult time understand the exact protocol when conversing with our new voice-activated assistants/overlords.” I am fortunate enough to still have my Granny, but she’s not into the Internet except when I show her funny dog videos.