Tag: Alexa

iDevices’ Instinct is a light switch with Alexa built in

If you’ve been pining for a sleek wireless light switch with Alexa built right in, now’s your chance. iDevices, Hubbell’s smart home subsidiary, today took the wraps off the Instinct, a wireless switch natively integrated with Amazon’s voice assistant. It’s hub-free and compatible with existing internet of things (IoT) devices, and it boasts nice-to-haves like […]

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Amazon’s voice-synthesizing AI mimics shifts in tempo, pitch, and volume

Voice assistants like Alexa convert written words into speech using text-to-speech systems, the most capable of which tap AI to verbalize from scratch rather than string together prerecorded snippets of sounds. Neural text-to-speech systems, or NTTS, tend to produce more natural-sounding speech than conventional models, but arguably their real value lies in their adaptability. They’re […]

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Siri Beats Alexa in Annual Digital Assistant IQ Test, Continues to Lag behind Google Assistant

Loup Ventures’ Gene Munster is out with his yearly report card on the performance of Google Assistant, Siri, and Alexa. Siri has trailed behind Assistant in the test over the last year few years despite making noticeable improvements. The same story continues this year as well. Munster asked all the three assistants 800 questions across […]

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Amazon launches Custom Interfaces for Alexa skills to deepen connections with games and gadgets

Amazon has had a steady focus on connecting home devices with its Echo smart speakers, from forging ties with more than 60,000 smart home devices to attempts to make Alexa a resource for gamers using consoles like Xbox. The tech giant took another step in that direction today with the introduction of Custom Interfaces, a […]

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Google Assistant tops 2019 digital assistance IQ test, but every AI posts gains

Following up on last year’s impressive comparison of personal AI solutions, Loup Ventures today released the results of its 2019 Digital Assistant IQ Test, and there’s good news if you enjoy giving voice commands to your phone, tablet, or speaker: all of the leading digital assistants are getting better at their jobs. Using a test […]

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Alexa gets better at understanding your requests

Amazon Alexa has tens of thousands of voice apps — skills, in Amazon’s vernacular — contributed by third-party developers. Usually, building said skills requires supplying examples of customer requests (e.g., “Order my usual”) together with the actions to which those requests should map, which are used to train the AI system that processes real requests […]

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Camsoda’s Virtual Assistant Blocker is like a privacy condom for Alexa

Camsoda is launching its Virtual Assistant Blocker, which is like a condom for Amazon Alexa, giving couples privacy when they’re having sex so voice assistants like Alexa won’t record any sounds they make. Camsoda has been specializing in gimmicky sex tech, based on the notion that young folks are into both sex and technology. For […]

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You can now adjust how quickly Alexa speaks in the U.S.

Voice assistants like Alexa are a quick and easy way to get the skinny on the weather, breaking news, sports scores, calendar appointments, and more. But for folks who are hard of hearing or longtime audio content consumers, assistants’ rigid speech rates can make some replies difficult to parse. That’s why Amazon is introducing a […]

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Amazon scientists improve Alexa’s ability to understand context

Pinpointing the person, place, or thing someone’s referring to in a question has been a longstanding challenge for systems like those underpinning Alexa. One trick often used to solve this reference resolution problem is slot carryover, which employs syntactic context to narrow down the target noun. For instance, if someone asks “When is Lion King […]

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Amazon Alexa users can now donate school supplies via voice

Back to school supplies aren’t getting any cheaper. The National Retail Federation estimates that this year parents with children in elementary school and college plan to spend an average of $696.70 (up from $684.79 in 2018) and $976.78 (up from $942.17), respectively. Economically disadvantaged families will necessarily lean on philanthropic givers to bridge the gap, […]

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Amazon lets Alexa users disable human voice recording review

Amazon Alexa users can now choose whether human reviewers listen to recordings of their exchanges with the AI assistant, a company spokesperson  told VentureBeat. Like Siri, Cortana, and Google Assistant, Alexa records every exchange with users of Echo speakers and similar devices as a way to gauge how successful the assistant is in fulfilling user […]

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Amazon’s AI helps find answers to complex questions

If you’ve ever become frustrated by a virtual assistant’s inability to answer questions satisfactorily, not to worry — researchers at Amazon are on the case. In a newly published paper presented in Paris last week at the ACM SIGIR Conference on Research and Development in Information Retrieval, a team from the Seattle company’s Alexa AI […]

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Amazon reports $63.4 billion in Q2 2019 revenue: AWS up 37%, subscriptions up 37%, and ‘other’ up 37%

Amazon today reported earnings for its second fiscal quarter of 2019, including revenue of $63.4 billion, net income of $2.6 billion, and earnings per share of $5.22 (compared to revenue of $52.9 billion, net income of $2.5 billion, and earnings per share of $5.07 in Q2 2018). North American sales were up 20% to $38.7 […]

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Amazon’s Alexa Accelerator introduces its third startup class

A year to the day after Amazon revealed the companies selected to participate in the second annual Alexa Accelerator, a 13-week program that grants ten startups access to Amazon employees and mentors from the Seattle AI community and Techstars incubator network, the tech giant and Techstars today announced the third cohort. This time around, Amazon […]

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Amazon’s Skill Flow Builder simplifies story-based game development for Alexa

Game developers with a penchant for voice apps, good news: Amazon today unveiled Skill Flow Builder, a tool which enables creators to build story-based game skills more easily, including interactive fiction, branching narratives, and role-playing experiences. It’s now live for Alexa skill developers in all supported locales and languages (with the exception of Hindi), and […]

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Amazon Alexa scientists boost information retrieval with novel AI training technique

The information retrieval models underpinning search engines require reams of manually annotated data, if they’re trained using machine learning. That’s because they must handle not only a range of queries, but any and all data tangential to these queries. Fortunately, an approach (“Content-Based Weak Supervision for Ad-Hoc Re-Ranking”) detailed by scientists at Amazon’s Alexa division […]

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New Adobe XD tools let you export prototypes to Alexa-enabled devices

Last year during its Max 2018 conference in Los Angeles, Adobe took the wraps off a new version of Adobe XD with enhancements on the voice assistant design front and tighter integration with the company’s broader Creative Cloud suite. Building on this groundwork, the San Jose company today unveiled the Amazon Alexa XD plugin, which […]

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Nolan Bushnell reveals Alexa-powered murder mystery board game St. Noire

Atari cofounder Nolan Bushnell and Hollywood creative director Zai Ortiz have created an interesting first in entertainment: St. Noire, an Alexa-powered murder mystery board game. It’s an interesting new direction for games, and it is available exclusively on Amazon for $40. X2 Games created the game to seamlessly integrate voice commands and cinematic voice performance […]

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Listen Up: Amazon Putting Alexa Into More Automobiles

<img data-attachment-id="1681516" data-permalink data-orig-file="https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/AmazonAlexa_8026.jpg" data-orig-size="3200,2069" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{"aperture":"18","credit":"","camera":"NIKON D810","caption":"Ford and Amazon team up to offer consumers the ability to access their car from home, and call up other features from their vehicle via Alexa \u2013 Amazon\u2019s cloud-based voice service","created_timestamp":"1483506000","copyright":"","focal_length":"45","iso":"2000","shutter_speed":"0.016666666666667","title":"2017 CES – Ford offers Amazon Alexa","orientation":"1"}" data-image-title="2017 CES – Ford offers Amazon Alexa" data-image-description=" Ford Motor Co […]

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