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.”
Economic Times: No please, no thank you: Are Siri, Alexa making humans less polite?. “For the study, the researchers asked 274 people if the way they talk to digital assistants is making them less polite. After surveying and observing those people, they found that artificially-intelligent digital assistants are not making adult humans ruder to other people.” Let me raise my hand and out myself as one of those people who says “thank you” when using Siri.
Search Engine Journal: 33% of People Are Now Using Voice Assistants Regularly . “It’s estimated that 111.8 million people in the US will use a voice assistant at least monthly this year. That represents 39.4% of US internet users and 33.8% of the overall population.”
CNET: Amazon now lets you stop human review of your Alexa recordings. “Amazon said Friday it will now let customers disable human review of their Alexa recordings, following similar steps by Apple for Siri and Google for its Assistant.”
CNN: Apple has stopped letting contractors listen to Siri voice recordings. “Apple has temporarily stopped a practice that allowed contractors to listen to user commands given to its voice assistant Siri. The tech company also said it’s conducting a review of the program after news reports raised concerns about the scope of recordings that contractors were listening to.”
The Guardian: Apple contractors ‘regularly hear confidential details’ on Siri recordings. “Apple contractors regularly hear confidential medical information, drug deals, and recordings of couples having sex, as part of their job providing quality control, or ‘grading’, the company’s Siri voice assistant, the Guardian has learned.”
South China Morning Post: China’s internet giants fight for dominance in smart speakers as they target half a billion users not yet online. “The stakes are high for Chinese companies as they see a shift away from computer and smartphone text input to voice-command methods that have the potential to tap into a huge new user base.”