The BBC’s virtual assistant is now available for testing in the UK

A virtual assistant from the BBC which aims to cater for Britain’s many dialects is now available for testing.

Even as a Brit, it can often feel like a translation app is needed between Bristolian, Geordie, Mancunian, Brummie, Scottish, Irish, or any of the other regional dialects in the country. For a geographically small country, we’re a diverse bunch – and US-made voice assistants often struggle with even the slightest accent.

The BBC thinks it can do a better...

Google’s chatty Duplex AI expands to the UK, Canada, and Australia

Google’s conversational Duplex AI has begun expanding outside the US and New Zealand to the UK, Canada, and Australia.

Duplex probably needs little introduction as it caused a bit of a stir when it debuted at I/O in late 2018 (when conferences were things you could still physically attend.)

The human-sounding AI could perform actions like calling a business on a person’s behalf and booking in things such as hair appointments or table...

Huawei announces its own AI assistant as it prepares for Google-less life

huawei assistant mate 30 pro google services ai artificial intelligence

Huawei has announced its own AI-powered assistant during a launch event in Munich as it prepares for life without Google’s services.

Due to US trade restrictions, Huawei is losing access to Google’s services. The new Mate 30 smartphones announced in Munich today will launch with the open-source Android, but it will not feature the Play Store, Gmail, YouTube, Google Pay, or the many other services which Western consumers are used to.

Among the features that will be...

Amazon patent envisions Alexa listening to everything 24/7

A patent filed by Amazon envisions a future where Alexa listens to users 24/7 without the need for a wakeword.

Current digital assistants listen for a wakeword such as “Ok, Google” or “Alexa,” before recording speech for processing. Especially for companies such as Google and Amazon which thrive on knowing everything about users, this helps to quell privacy concerns.

There are some drawbacks from this approach, mainly context. Future AI assistants will be able to...

Google’s Duplex booking AI often relies on humans for backup

Google Duplex often calls on humans for backup when making reservations on behalf of users, and that should be welcomed.

Duplex caused a stir when it debuted at Google’s I/O developer conference last year. The AI was shown calling a hair salon to make a booking and did so complete with human-like “ums” and “ahs”.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-qCanuYrR0g

The use of such human mannerisms goes to show Google’s intention was for the human to be unaware...

Facebook’s AI-driven M assistant chatbot reaches the UK

facebook ai chatbot m assistant

Facebook’s AI-driven M assistant chatbot has safely made it across the Atlantic and is now helping Messenger users in the UK. The chatbot will butt into your conversations if it feels it can be of assistance. For example, when discussing making plans it could find you nearby places, create a poll about where to go, and find time in participants’ diaries. When you arrive you could follow up with a question like “Where are you?” and the chatbot will prompt the other person to send...