Make Tech Easier: Here’s a Bunch of Funny Things to Ask Siri

For a given value of useful, but it’s Saturday, so.. Make Tech Easier: Here’s a Bunch of Funny Things to Ask Siri. “Siri is an extremely useful AI assistant, helping you in day-to-day tasks like making a calendar appointment or finding your iPhone. But there are plenty of other more whimsical uses for Siri too. This is especially true when it comes to kids, though adults will also enjoy the pile of nonsense questions you can throw at Siri. So we’ve gathered together a whole bunch of funny things to ask Siri when you’re bored and looking for a quick fix of fun. Some are kid-friendly, others aren’t. We’ll let you be the judge!”

VentureBeat: Mozilla Common Voice updates will help train the ‘Hey Firefox’ wakeword for voice-based web browsing

VentureBeat: Mozilla Common Voice updates will help train the ‘Hey Firefox’ wakeword for voice-based web browsing. “Mozilla today released the latest version of Common Voice, its open source collection of transcribed voice data for startups, researchers, and hobbyists to build voice-enabled apps, services, and devices. Common Voice now contains over 7,226 total hours of contributed voice data in 54 different languages, up from 1,400 hours across 18 languages in February 2019.”

Uncovered: 1,000 phrases that incorrectly trigger Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant (Ars Technica)

Ars Technica: Uncovered: 1,000 phrases that incorrectly trigger Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant. “As Alexa, Google Home, Siri, and other voice assistants have become fixtures in millions of homes, privacy advocates have grown concerned that their near-constant listening to nearby conversations could pose more risk than benefit to users. New research suggests the privacy threat may be greater than previously thought.”

EurekAlert: Do privacy controls lead to more trust in Alexa? Not necessarily, research finds

EurekAlert: Do privacy controls lead to more trust in Alexa? Not necessarily, research finds. “Giving users of smart assistants the option to adjust settings for privacy or content delivery, or both, doesn’t necessarily increase their trust in the platform, according to a team of Penn State researchers. In fact, for some users, it could have an unfavorable effect.”

Electronics Weekly: Build a Google Home with Raspberry Pi

Electronics Weekly: Build a Google Home with Raspberry Pi. “With a minimal amount of hardware and setup, you can create a functioning home assistant linked to your Google account and controlled by voice commands. Follow the steps below to install the Google Assistant SDK on your Raspberry Pi and set it up to listen for voice commands.”

Washington University in St. Louis: ‘Surfing attack’ hacks Siri, Google with ultrasonic waves

Washington University in St. Louis: ‘Surfing attack’ hacks Siri, Google with ultrasonic waves. “Attacks on cell phones aren’t new, and researchers have previously shown that ultrasonic waves can be used to deliver a single command through the air. However, new research from Washington University in St. Louis expands the scope of vulnerability that ultrasonic waves pose to cellphone security. These waves, the researchers found, can propagate through many solid surfaces to activate voice recognition systems and — with the addition of some cheap hardware — the person initiating the attack can also hear the phone’s response.”

Hey, Google? Alexa? Am I At Risk for Alzheimer’s?: UMass Boston Professor Part of $1.1M Research Project (UMass Boston)

UMass Boston: Hey, Google? Alexa? Am I At Risk for Alzheimer’s?: UMass Boston Professor Part of $1.1M Research Project. “Assistant Professor of Computer Science Xiaohui Liang is leading a four-year $1,179,714 National Institute on Aging (NIA)-funded research project to use Voice Assistant Systems, such as Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home, to detect early cognitive impairment. Early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias in older adults living alone is essential for developing, planning, and ensuring adequate support at home for patients and their families.”

BloombergQuint: Google Says Over 500 Million People Use Its Assistant Monthly

BloombergQuint: Google Says Over 500 Million People Use Its Assistant Monthly. “On the one hand, having the voice-controlled technology on over half a billion devices far outstrips main rival Amazon.com Inc., which said last year that more than 100 million gadgets had been sold with its Alexa digital assistant. However, Google’s Android operating system runs on roughly 2.5 billion devices. That suggests the Google Assistant either isn’t available with some of these products, or that many people aren’t using the service.”

Analytics India: Top Chatbots, Assistants & Facial Recognition Tools Launched In 2019

Analytics India: Top Chatbots, Assistants & Facial Recognition Tools Launched In 2019. “Chatbots have emerged as the preferred interface as more and more searches are shifting from text to voice. While globally, banking bots have moved beyond answering transactional queries to full-service mode, the Indian BFSI sector bound by regulatory norms is still in an evolving stage. They are now moving to full-fledged virtual assistant mode, thanks to artificial intelligence and machine learning.”

The Next Web: 2020 will mark the death of the chatbot as we know it

The Next Web: 2020 will mark the death of the chatbot as we know it. “According to recent research, only 9 percent of customers felt that they would be best served by a chatbot for serious enquiries, whereas the figures for a voice call were in excess of 80 percent. But with 80 percent of contact centers wanting to adopt chatbot technology by 2020, what is does this industry know that we don’t? Well, they are seeing the bright and not-so-distant future of this technology, and it doesn’t look like a thing like your average chatbot.”

Smashing Magazine: Creating Voice Skills For Google Assistant And Amazon Alexa

Smashing Magazine: Creating Voice Skills For Google Assistant And Amazon Alexa. “Voice assistants are hopping out of emerging tech and into everyday life. As a front end developer, you already have the skills to build one, so let’s dive into the platforms.” This is a giant technical dive and definitely not for beginners.

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.”

Mozilla Blog: Mozilla and BMZ Announce Cooperation to Open Up Voice Technology for African Languages

Mozilla Blog: Mozilla and BMZ Announce Cooperation to Open Up Voice Technology for African Languages. “Today, Mozilla and the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) have announced to join forces in the collection of open speech data in local languages, as well as the development of local innovation ecosystems for voice-enabled products and technologies. The initiative builds on the pilot project, which our Open Innovation team and the Machine Learning Group started together with the organization ‘Digital Umuganda’ earlier this year. The Rwandan start-up collects language data in Kinyarwanda, an African language spoken by over 12 million people. Further languages in Africa and Asia are going to be added.”

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.”