This week in Conversational AI.

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Image Credit: Victor Seleykov/ Just AI

Alexa’s ‘Tell Me When’ skill offers proactive reminders

Amazon updated Alexa’s popular reminders skill: now you can ask the voice assistant to “Tell me when” something happens and your device will notify you. Thus Alexa can remind users to watch a sports game or notify them when an email arrives from a particular person. Via The Verge.

Cerence Look virtual assistants now feature visual AI

Cerence, an automotive AI and tech developer, launched a new feature that enables a car’s voice assistant to inform drivers about their surroundings. With Cerence Look, the vehicle’s AI becomes something like a real-time tour guide of places of interest around the car. Mercedes-Benz is supposed to be the first one to offer this feature, as part of the Travel Knowledge in its MBUX Virtual Assistant. …


The last week of the year in Conversational AI.

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Image Credit: Victor Seleykov/ Just AI

Microsoft Windows 10 might get voice control capabilities

Despite its decision to disintegrate its operating system and voice assistant Cortana, Microsoft is rumored to be testing out the new ‘voice launcher’ feature in Windows 10. In 2021, the operating system could add voice controls and interactions, including voice-based search and typing basically anywhere within the computer’s system. Via Voicebot.ai.

Modulate launches ToxMod to scan video games voice chat for toxic speech

Modulate released ToxMod, a new service that scans voice chat in video games for toxic speech or other bad behavior with the help of AI. The service points out toxic, disruptive, or otherwise problematic speech in real-time and helps developers automatically take actions, like blocking individual words, such as racial slurs, or identifying information, such as a phone number. …


This week in Conversational AI.

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Image Credit: Victor Seleykov/ Just AI

Apple Music and Samsung SmartThings come to Google Assistant smart devices

This week, Google Assistant announced its support of the two major third-party services. From now on, Google Assistant speakers such as the new Nest Audio, Google Home Mini/Nest Mini, and third-party speakers from JBL, Lenovo, and countless others fully support Apple Music. Before that, Google Assistant speakers and displays supported Apple Music only when streaming over Bluetooth from Android or iOS devices. But now, users can simply link their Apple Music account through the Google Home app, and use it as the default music service.

Besides, starting in January, Google and Samsung will enable users of Google Nest devices, like cameras, thermostats, and doorbells, to control them through Samsung’s SmartThings apps. The owners of a compatible Samsung smart TV or appliance will also be able to control those Nest devices from there too. …


Allys Parsons of techire.io shares her insights into the Conversation Design careers. Originally published at Just AI blog.

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Image Credit: Polina Pirogova/Just AI

Over the past few months, Conversational AI technologies have advanced to a whole new level — and whether we like it or not, the pandemic has played its decisive role. With most of our time spent online and the tech future approaching us quickly, people are increasingly turning to Conversational AI in a variety of activities — from family entertainment to reaching businesses. According to Voicebot.ai, over 45% of consumers said they would like to have voice assistant features in their favorite mobile apps, while according to Juniper Research, smart home devices will carry out more than $164 billion worth of transactions in 2025, so if you’re thinking about a new tech career, you may want to consider Conversation Design. We spoke to Allys Parsons, the Co-Founder of techire.io


This week in Conversational AI.

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Image Credit: Victor Seleykov/Just AI

Vodafone Spain debuts smart speaker and voice assistant Atika

Vodafone Spain in collaboration with French audio technology brand Devialet and tech manufacturer Sagemcom created its first voice-controlled smart speaker. The device named Vodafone Atika enables customers to interact with the Vodafone TV service by using only voice commands like “Hola Atika, turn on the TV”, “change channels”, “record”, “fast forward 10 minutes” and so on. Via Telecompaper.

Awakening Health introduces a robot healthcare assistant named Grace

As part of the new joint venture, Awakening Health, AI developer Singularity Studio and Hanson Robotics collaborated to design Grace — the robot named with a human face and advanced artificial intelligence. Grace is offering to care for older people, particularly those isolated by the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis. …


This week in Conversational AI.

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Image Credit: Victor Seleykov/Just AI

Baidu launches flagship Xiaodu Smart Display X10

Baidu introduced Xiaodu Smart Display X10, its most expensive smart display so far, equipped with a suite of upgraded AI-powered functions. The modifications comprise full-duplex continued conversation, gesture control, voiceprint recognition, and intelligent response capabilities. For this model, Baidu dropped plastic exterior for metallic and mesh construct, complete with a zinc alloy circular base to exude a futuristic aesthetic. Via PR Newswire.

Foxtel introduces TiVo Voice Assistant with quote-based search

Australia’s major television subscription service Foxtel is enhancing its features with TiVo’s voice search platform. With this partnership, TiVo gains access to a major new potential customer base while Foxtel becomes an alternative to the voice-enabled smart television offers from Amazon and Google as they continue to promote their voice assistants and smart home ecosystems in Australia. The TiVo voice assistant is most known for finding and playing content using famous quotes. …


Use your Google Assistant or Alexa for Halloween scares

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Image Credit: Polina Pirogova/Just AI

Lovecraft World

An atmospheric voice-first animated comic book for Google Assistant smart displays, Lovecraft World is sure to scare the living daylights out of anyone. Based on Howard Lovecraft’s “Call of Cthulu” book, the story consists of 60 scenes, chockfull of atmospheric video content created by a team of artists, animators, and voice actors. Each of the one-minute-long episodes requires a player’s action in the end: to choose the next step of the scenario or solve a specific puzzle using voice.

Detective Х

Owners of Alexa-powered devices can spend some time in the spine-tingling suspense of Detective X. This RPG interactive fiction contains additional mini-games that range from an escape room to a bomb-defusing. This immersive adventure is inspired by classic sci-fi/action films like Bladerunner or Robocop and features professional voice actors, sound effects, original script, and soundtrack. …


This week in Conversational AI.

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Image Credit: Victor Seleykov/Just AI

Google Duplex’s haircut-booking feature is officially available

A Google spokesperson confirmed to VentureBeat via email that the haircut appointment booking feature for its AI chat agent Google Duplex has begun to roll out. The new feature is similar to the existing restaurant booking one, and can be used on any device with the Google Assistant app or access to Google Search or Map,. After tapping on the Request an Appointment button from Search or Maps, users can choose between three treatments: a men’s haircut, a women’s haircut, or a general haircut. After selecting one and entering a preferred appointment date, time, and time range (e.g., 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.), users have to indicate whether they’ve been to the business before and optionally enter the name of a stylist, as well as provide contact information like a name, phone number, and email address. …


This week in Conversational AI.

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Image Credit: Victor Seleykov/ Just AI

Google is making Assistant’s voice features more accessible for people with disabilities

Yet another move in that direction is Google’s partnership with Tobii Dynavox. This is a leading accessibility firm that creates speech synthesis and eye-tracking devices among other things. As part of this partnership, Snap Core First line of dedicated tablets and mobile apps by Tobii Dynavox will integrate Google Assistant, so that people who have trouble speaking can now use the assistant to control home appliances and other smart home products. Via The Verge.

Spotify launches collaborative voice notes for songwriters

Spotify’s new “Soundtrap Capture” allows musicians to collaborate while social distancing. Acquired by the music platform back in 2017, Soundtrap offers a simple Voice Memo tool with a giant red record button for an interface. Users can tap that to record their voices as they sing a line. Then users can share it with other songwriters. …


Bookmark these websites to stay in the loop of what’s going on in the voice industry.

Some say that voice is the new UI, others call it the “new click,” but no matter what you call it, the industry is growing — the overall voice and speech recognition market is expected to reach $26.8 billion by 2025. So if you feel like testing your skills in a promising industry, now might be the right time. …

Dasha Fomina

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