Exciting times for Amazon Alexa!
- Alexa has crossed over 3,000 skills in the US Skill Store, up from 1,000 in June;
- Alexa has just started shipping in the UK and is coming soon to Germany too. Echo and Echo Dot were just made available in the UK, whereas in Germany they are available by invitation for those who want to help shape Alexa as she evolves—the devices will start shipping next month.
- Amazon has also announced a new Echo Dot, enabled with new Echo Spatial Perception (ESP) which allows devices to determine which device a user is talking to (meaning that only one will respond, when multiple devices hear the user). The Dot will increase the number of devices Alexa can talk to in the home, creating an innovative customer experience. It will retail for £49.99 and Echo for £149.99.
Here are 2 neat little YouTube videos showing Alexa in action.
In this context, Amazon is bringing their Alexa training events to Europe in October. Hello Alexa London is on Monday 10th October.
- Developers, engineers, QA/testers and anyone who wants to learn how to build skills can participate in the full-day agenda from 8:30am – 4:30pm (+ Happy Hour afterwards!)
- Business development, strategy and planning, VUX/UX /VUI, account teams, producers and project management professionals can participate in the Alexa Business Development for Agencies session later in the day from 3pm – 4:30pm (and then of course join the Happy Hour!). They can also join the breakfast session, Welcome to Alexa (a 45-minute keynote) and Hello Alexa (a 1-hour session on the basics of creating a skill: what goes into the design, build, test, publish) from 8:30am – 10:45am.
- Click here to register (although the event is already sold out by now!) and hope to see you there!
I am really excited at how ubiquitous speech recognition is becoming! It was already ubiquitous as we were dragging it around on our smartphones (Apple SIRI, Google Now), but now it’s penetrated our homes too, crossing over work/personal/family lives. The future is omni-channel but unimodal?!
Just listened with great interest and amusement to Neil deGrasse Tyson‘s StarTalk Radio! podcast “Gazing into the Future with Ray Kurzweil“, where “your personal Astrophysicist” and Hayden Planetarium Director interviews the Futurist on his predictions on the future of A.I., the mind, and humankind in general.
The interview spans all kind of topics: from embodied and disembodied Artificial Intelligence (think Robots vs the Cloud), embodied and disembodied Human Intelligence (think getting hooked up with 3D printed body parts vs uploading your “brain” – or at least your memories – onto a computer chip), Nanorobots running through your bloodstream and even (Sex) Robots flirting with Polyamorous Roboticists! (sic!).
Kurzweil is being criticised by the other interviewee, Neuroscientist Gary Marcus, for being so specific about the dates on which each milestone is going to happen (Eliminate poverty by 2020? Eliminate disease by 2030? That would be nice). But they all agree that the future is coming, in some ways it’s already here, and that the moral questions posed or that should be posed are valid and tricky to answer: What’s the future of work? Can machines turn us into paperclips? Will we all be unemployed in the future? Can machines turn evil or will circumstances turn them destructive? (think of self-driving cars inadvertently colliding with one another in the vicinity of magnets). There are as many optimistic as pessimistic scenarios, but we are appeased that SkyNet is unlikely to become reality any time soon.
And we may simulate human intelligence and even language, but they ascertain it’s unrealistic to try and simulate the human brain itself with its billions of neurons and synapses in search of the foundations of this intelligence and linguistic aptitude.
But then again, as one of the sayings quoted in the show goes “When something doesn’t work, it’s A.I., when it does, it’s just (clever) Engineering”. Quite!
The WordPress.com stats monkeys prepared an annual report for this blog.
Top blog posts in 2015 were: “A.I.: from Sci-Fi to Science reality” and the ever popular older “Speech Recognition for Dummies” and the classic “Voice-activated lift won’t do Scottish! (Burnistoun S1E1 – ELEVEN!“.
Scottish Elevator – Voice Recognition – ELEVEN!
(YouTube – Burnistoun – Series 1 , Episode 1 [ Part 1/3 ])
“Voice recognition technology? … In a lift? … In Scotland? … You ever TRIED voice recognition technology? It don’t do Scottish accents!“
So, we had 4,500 unique visitors in 2015! Thank you!
A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,500 times in 2015. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.
Check out some more stats in the full WordPress report.
I just saw this really interesting and eye-opening infographic on LinkedIn and had to share.
Some really interesting statistics on current customer behaviour and attitudes towards brands and communication with them. E.g.
- The probability of successfully Cross-selling and Up-selling to a potential customer is just 5%-20%, but a whooping 60-70% with an existing customer. (So, watch it and respect your existing customers please!)
- More than 63% of customer service enquiries are initiated through social channels (So, watch your social media streams!)
Read more here