Adding natural voice commands (to) Bit By Bit
serendipity (n.): Finding something good without looking for it
Serendipity happens. This story is no different.
In 2001, I came across ELIZA, a computer program and an early example of primitive natural language processing. I spent hours trying to understand the chatterbot and was in total awe of its responses. I wondered once evolved, it can control the world around me: Turn on a fan for me, get my car ready and all with simple English commands. I struggled to understand it well in order to create my own ELIZA+, with the power to control the world around us.
As the years passed by and the more I read I realised NLP is a more complex problem. Not only is it difficult but to even implement a segment of it require special skills and high processing power. The dream to have a machine which can control the world around me was getting bleaker. Life moved on to solving other problems and the idea of ELIZA+ got buried.
Last month, while simplifying interface for the fun-store for Bit By Bit, I landed on wit.ai. It is an API that turns natural language (speech or messages) into actionable data. In simple words, you speak through a microphone and can assign it to some commands (called intent) and then use that command to execute things you desire.
I was using it in no time. My excitement grew with every experiment I performed. I think one of the reason for my excitement was also that the example on their website was similar to a dollhouse that I built last year and controlled it remotely. The dream of creating ELIZA+ was coming back to life!
This week we experimented with wit.ai on Bit By Bit (B3). Now all the 100s of fun-apps on the fun-store have the possibility to embed voice commands to launch the app. You can club fun-apps, assign them voice intents and then create a single app using that!
As a demo, I created the following video where Bit By Bit is running various fun-apps remotely. I ran fun-apps on my macbook while B3 was lying remotely in my office and I made a Skype call to my PC to show me the behaviour of B3. From blinking an LED to getting them dance to taking a pic and tweeting it on @b3apps. Now I can do it all with a simple voice command!
B3 comes bundled with Wolfram Language, so it’s a no brainer to imagine the immense computationally intensive tasks that will be possible with simple voice commands now!
In coming days we will try to create intents for all the fun-apps and these intents will be shareable by others.
I learnt that all good things take time. This will also take time. ELIZA+ won’t happen overnight. It will evolve bit by bit.
To schedule a demo for controlling Bit By Bit using voice commands or just have a chat with us, please contact us.