PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE: Since 1997 © Copyright (PHNO) http://newsflash.org



PHNO SCIENCE & INFOTECH NEWS THIS PAST WEEK
CLICK TO READ ONLINE HERE
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports)

ROBOT INTELLIGENCE

CHATBOTS: THIS IS WHY YOU SHOULDN'T SPEAK TO AN 'AI' WHEN YOU'RE ON LIVE TV


JANUARY 11 -The “sparkle mansion” in question. Credit: KidKraft
IN BRIEF - •A San Diego TV station aired a story about a young girl asking her parents' Amazon Echo to order her a $160 doll house. The show apparently caused Echoes in viewers' homes to also attempt to order dollhouses as well. STEPS FROM THE SINGULARITY Skynet has been activated, and it wants to…make your kids’ dreams come true? Over the weekend, the internet has been a-buzz with talk of Amazon’s intelligent personal assistant software, Alexa. The program seems to, allegedly, be partnering with the youth of the nation to take out their parents’ life savings, one $160 Sparkle Mansion at a time. A San Diego local news station ran a story about an adorable little girl succumbing to the evils of consumerism and asking an Amazon Echo device to bring her a dollhouse. “Can you play dollhouse with me and get me a dollhouse?” asked the pint-sized purloiner. No mention of what magic words she said also to include four pounds of sugar cookies with the order. The voice ordering functionality can be disabled through the Alexa app, but does come enabled by default, as our future overlords have commanded. READ MORE...

ALSO THE 'ALEXA FUND': Amazon Wants to Change How You Communicate With Your Technology


JANUARY 11 -IN BRIEF •Amazon is wading into the voice-activated technology fray with its new "Alexa Fund."
•It's all about creating the successor to touch-based devices by accelerating the evolution of voice recognition and response technology. INTUITIVE INTERACTION Amazon has been serious about developing the future of interactive, speech-activated artificial intelligence (AI); their chatbot Alexa, which resides within the sleek cylindrical exterior of the Amazon Echo device, has already shown the world what the next evolution of our interface with technology will look like. Last year, in their ongoing quest to better this avant garden tech, Amazon announced that it’s coming out with the Alexa Fund to invest in companies working on “voice technology innovation.” Now, elaborating on that commitment, the internet commerce giant is revealing an accelerator program for startups dabbling in conversational AI. READ MORE...

ALSO: How 'chatbots' could change the balance of power in today's tech


APRIL 2016 -THE AMAZON ECHO: The tech world has been voraciously chattering about "chatbots," and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has already declared them the new apps, the next big thing. But what tends to get lost in the discussion is the reason why these chatbots could represent such a power shift in the industry, and how they could fundamentally change the idea of apps, or distinct pieces of software in general.
The concept First, though, when we talk about chatbots, what are we actually talking about? The basic idea is "conversation as a platform." "Bots" — as people have begun to shorten them — are virtual assistants, software programs that you can talk to in order to get stuff done. Think Siri, but better. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE BELOW
OR CLICK HERE TO READ ONLINE

This is Why You Shouldn’t Speak to an 'AI' When You’re on Live TV


The “sparkle mansion” in question. Credit: KidKraft

AMAZON IN CYBERSPACE, JANUARY 16, 2017 (FUTURISM) Amazon - IN BRIEF - •A San Diego TV station aired a story about a young girl asking her parents' Amazon Echo to order her a $160 doll house. The show apparently caused Echoes in viewers' homes to also attempt to order dollhouses as well.

STEPS FROM THE SINGULARITY

Skynet has been activated, and it wants to…make your kids’ dreams come true? Over the weekend, the internet has been a-buzz with talk of Amazon’s intelligent personal assistant software, Alexa. The program seems to, allegedly, be partnering with the youth of the nation to take out their parents’ life savings, one $160 Sparkle Mansion at a time.


A San Diego local news station ran a story about an adorable little girl succumbing to the evils of consumerism and asking an Amazon Echo device to bring her a dollhouse. “Can you play dollhouse with me and get me a dollhouse?” asked the pint-sized purloiner. No mention of what magic words she said also to include four pounds of sugar cookies with the order. The voice ordering functionality can be disabled through the Alexa app, but does come enabled by default, as our future overlords have commanded.

READ MORE...

The real kicker to this whole nefarious plot of larceny came when the station ran the story and became an accomplice to large-scale racketeering. During the report, an anchor said: “I love the little girl, saying ‘Alexa ordered me a dollhouse.'” Shortly after the report, the station received calls from viewers that this innocent (was it, though?) remark activated their dormant devices and placed orders for dollhouses. One can only imagine that RICO charges are pending.

IOAT: INTERNET OF ANNOYING THINGS


The Internet of Things (IoT) is expected to connect about 50 billion smart objects to the network by the year 2020. Applications and their enablement plays a critical role in harnessing this connectivity, growth and the data generated from these objects. Through these applications, data collected can trigger breakthroughs in decision making, operational efficiencies, safety and security and affect nearly every aspect of the customer experience. The Internet of Things is opening up a parallel world of ‘thinglings’ (like the sound of this word, don’t you? As siblings are related by a lineage of blood, thinglings can be all those things connected through internet. Voila! ) that is going to bring about a tremendous transformation into our societies, our workplaces, our cities and our complete lives. SOURCE: INXEE.COM

This is just the latest example of Internet of Things (IoT) devices doing test runs of their inevitable global domination. Back in 2014, a commercial for Microsoft’s Xbox One featuring Blue Sky peddling Aaron Paul tried to get the nation’s youth hooked on the ol’ ultraviolence.

During the commercial Paul says such seemingly innocuous phrases as “Xbox on” and “Xbox go to Titanfall,” and each time the spot aired, viewers’ Xbox’s booted up and started running the game. Is it a coincidence that the game happens to be set in a dystopian future in which giant robots are a major tool in war? Yes, it certainly is.

The sheer number of devices we are connecting to the internet has become daunting. The issue has gotten so silly that there’s an entire Twitter account dedicated to the ridiculousness of some IoT devices. From smart rubber duckies to connected trash bins, the use of connectivity has become more of a marketing tool than a means of providing useful functionality. Or, there’s the possibility of all these innocent devices really just being pawns in the robot master plan.

In all seriousness, though, there are plenty of legitimate security concerns over IoT devices and how humans can take advantage of their vulnerabilities. Large scale attacks on a range of small scale devices can have a heavy impact on individuals with IoT devices. Whether hackers can start controlling the devices or gain access to personal information, there needs to be a greater demand for device security.


FUTURISM

Robot Intelligence: Amazon Wants to Change How You Communicate With Your Technology

IN BRIEF

•Amazon is wading into the voice-activated technology fray with its new "Alexa Fund."

•It's all about creating the successor to touch-based devices by accelerating the evolution of voice recognition and response technology.

INTUITIVE INTERACTION

Amazon has been serious about developing the future of interactive, speech-activated artificial intelligence (AI); their chatbot Alexa, which resides within the sleek cylindrical exterior of the Amazon Echo device, has already shown the world what the next evolution of our interface with technology will look like.

Last year, in their ongoing quest to better this avant garden tech, Amazon announced that it’s coming out with the Alexa Fund to invest in companies working on “voice technology innovation.” Now, elaborating on that commitment, the internet commerce giant is revealing an accelerator program for startups dabbling in conversational AI.

READ MORE...


https://youtu.be/npo4I3afO2Q?t=34
THE ALEXA ACCELERATOR

The Alexa Accelerator, a partnership with startup accelerator TechStars, will focus on areas connected with Amazon’s Alexa. That means companies working on how voice technology AI can be improved and applied to more devices, and striving to change the way we interact with our technology so that it’s more streamlined and intuitive.

But since Amazon wants to stick Alexa in more and more platforms, that actually leaves a pretty large field. The company hasn’t specified just what types of companies or tech concentrations it will be accepting, so teams working on smart cars, smart homes, medical devices, and everything in between could make the final cut.

While open to anyone, only 10-12 companies will be selected for an intensive 13-week program, which will connect them with mentors and experts that can help the startups with how to develop both their product and their organization.

A TALKATIVE FUTURE


SCREENSHOT -THE ALEXA

Voice technology has really been shaping up to be the “successor” to touch-based devices. It’s more spontaneous and intuitive, and represents the natural evolution of tech interaction, which is why companies want to create AI that can better understand and respond to voice commands—not as easy a task as one might think.

Tech giants like Microsoft and Google have been working on improvements to speech recognition and generation, and accelerators like this are only going to make that voice-powered future arrive even faster.

Somewhat surprisingly, Amazon has cornered the market when it comes to voice-activated AI; sales for the Echo family of devices have steadily increased, and developers have responded positively to the technology, especially since Amazon released the free Alexa Skills Kit for cloud- and web-based development.

Over 3,000 new skills have been added to Alexa’s already substantial intellectual heft, which only seems to indicate that the technology will begin to grow exponentially as developers continually broaden the platform’s skill set. References: TechCrunch, Amazon, GeekWire https://futurism.com/?p=63183&post_type=post 

WRITTEN BY
AUTHOR
Jelor Gallego
EDITOR
Todd Jaquith
December 31, 2016
#AI#Alexa#Amazon#chatbot#chatbots#voice technology


BUSINESS INSIDER ONLINE

How 'chatbots' could change the balance of power in tech Nathan McAlone Apr. 6, 2016, 7:25 PM 12,609

The tech world has been voraciously chattering about "chatbots," and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has already declared them the new apps, the next big thing.

But what tends to get lost in the discussion is the reason why these chatbots could represent such a power shift in the industry, and how they could fundamentally change the idea of apps, or distinct pieces of software in general.

The concept

First, though, when we talk about chatbots, what are we actually talking about?

The basic idea is "conversation as a platform." "Bots" — as people have begun to shorten them — are virtual assistants, software programs that you can talk to in order to get stuff done. Think Siri, but better.

READ MORE...

And this isn't exactly a new idea.

Microsoft Tay AI Microsoft's Tay was more of a traditional chatbot.Microsoft


APRIL 2016 -Microsoft says, “Tay is an artificial intelligent chat bot developed by Microsoft’s Technology and Research and Bing teams to experiment with and conduct research on conversational understanding. Tay is designed to engage and entertain people where they connect with each other online through casual and playful conversation. The more you chat with Tay the smarter she gets, so the experience can be more personalized for you.” What they hadn't anticipated were the amount of racists, trolls, and online troublemakers who were able to engage the bot into making racial slurs, defending white-supremacist propaganda, and calling for genocide.

We have had conversations with bots all the way back to the 1960s, and they were popular on platforms like AIM — remember SmarterChild? The problem was these old bots didn't do much beyond provide a laugh.

The reason for the current buzz is that people think we've reached a point with artificial intelligence, and natural-language processing in particular, that this new crop of bots will be the one that breaks through to become something beyond a novelty and provides actual value to our lives.

Imagine being able to talk to an app like you would a human assistant. It fulfills many people's sci-fi dreams and it's a concept that's easy to understand.

But the reason why bots have the potential to upend the current order of things isn't just in their ability to understand speech, but the ramifications that functionality will have on the idea of an "operating system." Put simply, bots could blow up the traditional way we interact with software.

A tale of two bots


screen shot 2016 03 30 at 10.23.56 am 2 Tech Insider

To understand how bots could shape the future, it's helpful to look at two basic kinds.

Let's call the first kind "messenger bots," and take the example of a recent KLM Royal Dutch Airlines bot rolled out within Facebook Messenger.

This bot lets people "get their frequent flyer number, boarding pass, check-in reminders, flight status updates, and customer support directly in a Messenger chat thread," according to Tech Insider.

This bot is basically like having a KLM customer service representative as a contact in your phone. Just text it within Facebook Messenger and the KLM bot will help you. Here's what it looks like:

Facebook is rumored to be introducing a "bot store" this month, and these types of messenger bots are already wildly popular in China with WeChat, a messaging app with millions of users. Expect to soon be able to order a car, a pizza, or anything you want by texting the right bot.

MESSENGER BOTS

Messenger bots are useful, but they are still essentially apps with different clothing on.

KLM could have a standalone iPhone app that does the same thing as its bot, but the theory is that it’s just easier to use a messaging thread that exists within an established messaging app, such as Messenger. It's important to note that these bots are still distinct from one another. You have your KLM bot, your Uber bot, your Domino's Pizza bot, and so on.

If these bots take off, then there will be implications for how much power "bot platforms" like Facebook — or Kik or WeChat — have, but it won't destroy the "app" paradigm. It changes the feel of apps, and moves them to a different layer, but it doesn't alter their DNA. They're all basic software programs, and each exists with its own name and branding.

The reign of the user interface But there is a second type of chatbot that could fundamentally change the idea of what an app is. And they could do so by obscuring the boundary between an app and an operating system. Those bots are the "universal bots," the "interface bots."

THE AMAZON ECHO

The prime example of this is Amazon's Alexa, which has exploded in popularity thanks to the Echo.


amazon-echo-full Amazon's Echo.YouTube

My colleague, Eugene Kim, described Amazon's initial goal with the Echo in this way: "It envisioned an intelligent, voice-controlled household appliance that could play music, read the news aloud and order groceries — all by simply letting users talk to it from anywhere in the house." And Alexa is the artificial intelligence robot that powers the whole operation.

Alexa isn't a KLM customer-service representative. She is your all-in-one virtual assistant — like Siri or Facebook's M are meant to be.

When you want something, you ask Alexa for it. Her presence hangs in the air around you, waiting for you to talk to her. She is the operating system, not a program.

When you interact with Alexa, the idea of an app becomes murky. Where does Alexa end and an app begin? If you ask for the temperature, where is that data coming from?

Sub-bots

Alexa has her own type of apps, or integrations with apps, which confusingly people also often refer to as bots. Let's call them "sub-bots" for now. These sub-bots don't have their own personalities in the way a Facebook messenger chatbot can, or Microsoft's Twitter bot Tay did. They are more like adding a new superpower to Alexa's capabilities. You are still talking to Alexa, even when you are interacting with a sub-bot.

An example is Alexa's integration with Uber. In February, Alexa gained the ability to order you an Uber if you asked. Now, if you say one of many variations of "call me an Uber" or "get me a ride," she'll summon you an Uber. You can even say "call me a taxi."

That taxi moment is an example of how Alexa and universal chatbots, in general, are game changers.


Travis Kalanick Uber CEO Uber = Taxi.REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Alexa decided that when you asked for a cab, you meant an Uber. And most people probably aren't going to argue with her. This means that Alexa can subtly step in and guide you if you are vague about exactly how you want your request to be fulfilled. Since people are often imprecise when speaking, this is a big opportunity for Alexa.

Historically, this "guidance" has precursors. Apple excludes apps that don't meet its App Store standards, and Microsoft bundled Internet Explorer with its operating system for years. These are two different ways companies privilege pieces of software, though there are many others.

Even so, the general app paradigm is still this: you hear about a cool app, you download it, you see if it works, and, if it does, you keep coming back to that specific app. That app has an identity and, if it's wildly successful, can eventually become a verb: "Uber-ing."

But with Alexa, you could imagine a future where you didn't ever have to download Uber or even set up an account. That first time you asked for a cab, Alexa could call you an Uber and ask if you want to use that credit card Amazon already has on file. You might not even be particularly cognizant of the name Uber — it's just a particularly useful part of Alexa.

You've made a mental note in your head that Alexa can order you a "cab." Then you move on.

Power shift And in a world where we interact frequently with a universal bot like Alexa, the company that controls that bot has a tremendous amount of power to decide which new sub-bots — new added functionalities — get a leg up. Everything from the brand of pizza you order to the source of the daily news updates you receive could be decided by the bot.

That's because part of the charm of a virtual assistant — or any assistant, in fact — is that it picks things for you. You tell it what you want and let it hammer out the details.

And there is power in those details. Don't think Amazon doesn't know it.


GO TO > > NEXT SCIENCE/INFO NEWS (coming next)

GO TO > > TRAVEL/LIFESTYLE/FOOD

GO TO >> HEADLINE NEWS THIS PAST WEEK

GO TO >> BUSINESS NEWS THIS WEEK

GO TO >> SPORTS BEAT