A FEW DAYS ago, I finally bought a pair of AirPods. Apple’s funny-looking ear-computers have been available for about a year, provided you were willing to order them online and wait six weeks for delivery.
Google wants to hear you say ‘yes’…and ‘no’, and maybe also ‘on’ and ‘off’ too.
The firm is gathering speech samples from people across the globe, as part of a push to get simple voice recognition everywhere, paving the way for voice commands to be added to appliances and gadgets throughout our homes.
DANIEL KISH SEES more than you might expect, for a blind man. Like many individuals deprived of sight, he relies on his non-visual senses to navigate the world. But people tend to find Kish’s abilities rather remarkable.
YOU NEED JUST two eyes and two ears to drive. Those remarkable sensors provide all the info you need to, say, know that a fire engine is coming up fast behind you, so get out of the way. Autonomous vehicles need a whole lot more than that.
YOU PROBABLY DON’T have a landline phone, because it’s not 1995. But you miss it sometimes, don’t you? Knowing where the phone was all the time, having something anyone could pick up and use, avoiding the rock-paper-scissors over who has to waste their cell phone battery calling Dominos.
Like any cosmopolitan woman, Barbie changes with the times. Since she first showed up in 1959, the iconic blonde has gone through more than 100 incarnations, from rapper to biochemist, astronaut to president of the US.
Amazon’s range of smart speakers and their artificial intelligence assistant Alexa have proved to be a huge sales hit. But the product is still a shadow of what the man in charge – Dave Limp – and indeed their owners, hope it will become.
The consumer IT giants — such as Google, Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft — have all invested heavily in voice technology. Analyst Gartner estimated two years that 30 percent of our interactions with technology will be through ‘conversations’ with smart machines by 2018.
Researchers have crafted algorithms that can blend an audio recording of someone talking with a video of them saying something else – and create a new convincing lip-synched video with the replacement sound.
ASK ALEXA ABOUT the weather, and it’ll tell you it’s sunny and 75 in a pleasant monotone. Prompt it to tell you a joke, and it’ll offer a pun in its signature staccato. Suggest that it sing a song, and it’ll belt out an auto-tuned country ballad.
THE AMAZON ECHO is a stupendously powerful device. It can control your lights, play Ed Sheeran jams, keep a to-do list, check the weather, order pizza, tell guests your Wi-Fi password, and so much more. But as you embrace this chatty-computer future, you begin to see its limitations.