Conversational Interaction Technology
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Messaging Apps are Now Bigger than Social Networks

Chat apps boast a number of distinct characteristics that make their audiences particularly appealing to businesses and marketers, including their size, retention and usage rates, and user demographics. The combined user base of the top four chat apps is larger than the combined user base of the top four social networks. Chat apps also have higher retention and usage rates than most mobile apps. Finally, the majority of their users are young, an extremely important demographic for brands, advertisers and publishers.
LT-Innovate's insight:

New report on the rise of (sometimes robot-driven) chat services and apps.

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Conversational Interaction Technology
CIT keeps you up-to-date on news for the Conversational Interaction Technology Innovation Alliance (CITIA)
Curated by LT-Innovate
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Jibo Releases SDK Aiming to Bring Robotics into Homes

IndieGogo startup Jibo has announced an SDK for developing applications, a.k.a. skills, for its “social robot” for the home, which will target entertainment, education, and IoT integration.
Jibo is an attempt to create a robot that can interact with its environment by recognizing people voices and faces, speaking up and showing them visual content, and moving its parts, which include a “chest” and a “head”.

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Intelligent Virtual Assistant Market Forecast to 2022

The Global intelligent virtual assistant Market was valued at US$579.7 Million in 2014 and is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 31.8% from 2015 to 2022.

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CITIA Makes Strong Pitch for a Multilingual Speech  Baselayer at LTI SUMMIT 

http://www.lt-innovate.org/sites/default/files/lt_summit/09.30%2002%20Steve%20Renals.pdf#overlay-context=lti-summit/programme

LT-Innovate's insight:

Read Steve Renals' slides on the next crucial step for Europe's speech technology community.

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Beyond the 'Chatbot' - A User's View of the Messaging Quadrant

Beyond the 'Chatbot' - A User's View of the Messaging Quadrant | Conversational Interaction Technology | Scoop.it
‘Chatbots’ are a mental model suited to developers. The term means very little to users. Besides, ‘chatbots’ represent only a small part of what is happening in the messaging space.
LT-Innovate's insight:

Incisive summary of why the user view of messaging is more relevant than the developer-side "chatbot" vision.

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Qatar in Deal with UK’s Speechmatics to Take Arabic Transcription Technology Global

UK-based company Speechmatics is to use technology developed by the Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI), a division of Hamad bin Khalifa University, to take Arabic speech-to-text services to its global customers needing to transcribe Arabic broadcasts and audio files into text and subtitles. QATS can transcribe modern standard Arabic as well as four major Arabic dialects: Egyptian, Levantine, North African and Gulf Arabic.

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Launch of $14,000 Voice-Controlled NLP Home Automation System

Josh.ai (from the founders of Yeti and Quark) is a new box that enables users to control select smart-home devices by voice, using commands such as, “Open the garage door and turn on the kitchen lights” or “Play season two, episode 10 Game of Thrones.”

LT-Innovate's insight:

Competition for Amazon and Google projects in home voice boxes

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Google Unveils a More Conversational #VirtualAssistant

You can ask a question for an answer, and follow up with multiple questions, with Google picking the conversation out and returning the right answer. The service is integrated in its new conversational user interface products: Google Assistant is also built into Allo, its new independent chat bot app, as well as Google Home, its Amazon Echo competitor.
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Roger Launches Voice Platform With Amazon Alexa, Dropbox, Slack, and Voicemail Integrations

Roger (https://rogertalk.com), the voice app by former Spotify engineers and funded by former Facebook executives, is launching as a voice platform with its suite of third party integrations. Apart from talking with friends, Roger now lets users interact with other services using voice, including Amazon Alexa, Dropbox, and Slack. Roger even has a feature that redirects missed phone calls to Roger, turning them into actual conversations inside the app.

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Furhat Builds Launch Pad For Creating Conversational Robots

Furhat Robotics (Sweden) has created a platform with a robot that mimics human interaction and a “state-of-the-art animation system that is back-projected on a translucent mask.” The robot speaks and makes facial expressions similar to a human. Users can connect to the robot via a Wi-Fi or ethernet connection. It can recognize programs like Microsoft Kinect and SingStar Wireless Microphone. From there, users can also customize the robot with apps and different “face models.”

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Paradigm Shift: from Siri to Viv

Viv provides a paradigm shift in the way we affect our daily tasks — the very shift that others are attempting to provide in the form of personal assistants. It is a breakthrough accomplishment in providing a single conversational user interface (UI) to recognize our words, determine our intent, and then write code to affect that intent. As a side benefit, the video is very informative about the process of AI. [Forward to 4:00 and watch for 10 minutes just to see the demos and skip the intro and Q&A.]

LT-Innovate's insight:

Watch the demo video of Viv.

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KITT.AI Launches First 'Hotword Detection' Software Toolkit 

The Seattle startup today unveiled its first software toolkit called Snowboy, which lets developers add verbal “hotword detection” to devices. It’s the same technology that tech giants like Amazon and Apple use for products like Alexa and Siri, but now KITT.AI is enabling anyone to easily add the functionality to their own hardware. The idea is to let users talk to devices in order to “wake” or “command” them to do something.

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Let's Teach Robots to Lie

Social robots are programmed to learn social cues, and this is a good thing — it will ultimately make them better at our jobs. The task for programmers is not to stamp out all robot deception but to add features that make it easier for robots to make decisions about appropriate answers.
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Nuance Transcription Engine Transforms Speech and Audio into Big Data

Nuance Transcription Engine transforms massive amounts of recorded audio into data assets for lots of industries. 88 percent transcription capabilities, NTE supports 15 languages and 30 dialects.

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Sherpa, a Spanish-Language AI-Based Personal Assistant, Raises $6.5M

Sherpa (Spain) is filling an interesting niche in the market that most English speakers might not even realise exists: many of the interesting evolutions in AI and natural language processing have been focused on English applications, leaving large swathes of the non-English speaking world without the same kinds of services. Uribe- Etxebarria notes that while some apps do have Spanish versions they are basic.

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Automated Lip Reading Tech Deciphers Speech in Silent CCTV images

Scientists at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England, are working on the next stage of automated lip reading technology that could be used for deciphering speech from video surveillance footage. The visual speech recognition technology, created by Dr. Helen Bear and Professor Richard Harvey of UEA’s School of Computing Sciences, can be applied “any place where the audio isn’t good enough to determine what people are saying,” says Dr. Bear.

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Speech Data Talks - Especially In Europe, so Let's Share it

CITIA promotes its speech technology data collection agenda on Youtube. Watch it !!

LT-Innovate's insight:

Spread the word - literally!

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Why Chatbots are Game Changers in #HCI

Why Chatbots are Game Changers in #HCI | Conversational Interaction Technology | Scoop.it
Facebook Messenger, Microsoft Cortana and Google Assistant are the three new major conversational platforms that are poised to substantially change the way we interact with machines.
LT-Innovate's insight:

Watch the video. "Conversational platforms" is the new buzzword, even if CITIA got the C-word in first! 

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Third-Party Ecosystems as the Key to Success for #IntelligentAssistants

Alexa, Viv and MyWave share a vision of the future of digital commerce that involves a virtual marketplace where IAs interpret natural language input, understand an individual’s intent, and identify prospective suppliers and then enable a purchase. That’s profound. Note well that these marketplaces are, by no means, all inclusive. IAs play the dual role of presenting an individual’s specifications and preferences to brands and suppliers that have entered into agreements with and conform to protocols established by the intelligent assistant service.

LT-Innovate's insight:

Dan Miller's take on the ramp up towards AI-driven IAs

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Vicarious, the Secretive AI Startup Bringing Imagination to Computers

Vicarious (US AI startup) has introduced a new kind of neural-network algorithm designed to take into account more of the features that appear in biology. An important one is the ability to picture what the information it’s learned should look like in difference scenarios—a kind of artificial imagination. The company’s founders believe a fundamentally different design will be essential if machines are to demonstrate more humanlike intelligence. Computers will have to be able to learn from less data, and to recognize stimuli or concepts more easily.

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Sony Invests in #AI Startup Cogitai

Japan’s Sony said it plans to build up its AI business and eventually turn it into a major revenue source, beginning with an investment in a U.S. startup Cogitai. The year-old firm, founded by three researchers, focuses on technology that allows machines to learn continually and autonomously from interaction in the real world.

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Speech Translation Earplugs Soon to Reveal All

Waverly Labs (US) "On Wednesday, May 18th, 2016 we are going to release a video on our blog to answer all of your questions. We’ll answer questions such as: Where are we in the development stage? When will the Pilot will be ready for pre-order and delivery? Which languages are supported? What are the details on the early bird pricing and who are the contest winner(s)?"

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How Programmability Will Drive Next Generation Voice Interfaces

A recent GSA report – Charting a New Course for Semiconductors – also highlighted the possibility of a swing towards programmability based on open source software and next generation reprogrammable chips like xCORE. This swing to programmability coincides with development of the IoT and major initiatives by technology companies to add voice interfaces to their products.
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Veritone Using Nuance #ASR to Analyse Media

Veritone (US cloud-based cognitive computing solutions) is integrating the Nuance (voice and language solutions) Transcription Engine into Veritone's Cognitive Media Platform to use sentiment extraction, tonal analysis, facial and object recognition and more. to analyse global media.  

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Amazon Alexa Now Tracks Flights, Plans Trips 

Kayak, a search engine that helps travelers find deals on flights, hotels, and car rentals, is the latest app to add a skill to Alexa, the artificial intelligence that powers the Amazon Echo. Enabling the Kayak skill in the Alexa app will let busy people plan and track trips using their voice.
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New AI Assistant Viv: Intelligence becomes a Utility

The company's tagline — intelligence becomes a utility — nicely sums up its goal of powering the conversational AI inside a multitude of gadgets and digital services.
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