Schlagwort-Archive: Cortana

Samsung Plans To Give Galaxy S8 An AI Digital Assistant

All the cool companies have them: digital assistants. Apple has Siri, Microsoft has Cortana, and Google  has the cleverly named Google Assistant. Now, Samsung plans to bring its own iteration of a virtual assistant in the Galaxy S8 next spring, according to a new report from Reuters.

The assistant will be based on work by Viv Labs, a San Jose-based AI company that Samsung acquired this October (the move immediately fueled speculation that Samsung was moving into the AI space). The founders of Viv Labs already have a strong track record in the field as the creators of Siri, which Apple bought in 2010.

Samsung appears to be tapping into Viv’s existing strengths rather than aiming to revamp the platform. One of Viv’s hallmarks is that it is designed to be a one-stop-shop that works seamlessly with third-party services. “Developers can attach and upload services to our agent,” Samsung Executive Vice President Rhee In-jong said during a briefing, according to Reuters. “Even if Samsung doesn’t do anything on its own, the more services that get attached the smarter this agent will get, learn more new services and provide them to end-users with ease.”

If the digital assistant is a hit, it could help Samsung make up for its financial losses over the Galaxy Note 7 recall, which is projected to cost the company at least $5.4 billion. It could also rebuild consumer confidence after the Note 7 debacle and, more recently, a recall of a Samsung top-loading washing machine due to “impact injuries.”

But the company is entering a crowded market. Apple paved the way with Siri, though its early lead is shrinking after the launch of Google’s Assistant, which can tap into Google’s well-established knowledge graph and search capabilities. And there’s always Amazon Alexa, which already has a home in the smart-home devices the Echo, Dot and Tap.

„Every door can be unlocked.“  Ellen Fondiler

http://www.forbes.com/sites/shelbycarpenter/2016/11/06/samsung-plan-galaxy-s8-ai-digital-assistant

Advertisements

Battle of the assistants

Https%3a%2f%2fblueprint-api-production.s3.amazonaws.com%2fuploads%2fcard%2fimage%2f121380%2fcortanavssirionmacosthumb
Image: patrick lux/Getty Images

Despite what science-fiction wisdom says, talking to your computer is not normal. Sitting in the middle of a modern, open floor-plan office and saying „Hello, Computer,“ will garner some head-turns and a few scowls.

No matter. Companies like Microsoft, Amazon and Apple are convinced we want to talk to everything, including our desktop and laptop computers. Side-eye looks be damned.

Which brings us to today. Almost a year since Microsoft brought Cortana to Windows 10, Apple is following suit with Siri for the newly rechristened macOS.

Windows 10 with Cortana is, obviously, a shipping product, while macOS with Siri integration is in early beta. Even so, I can’t look at Siri’s first desktop jaunt in a vacuum, so when Apple supplied me with a MacBook running the beta of macOS Sierra (due to come to consumers in the fall), I compared the two desktop-based voice assistants. As you might surmise, they’re quite similar, but they have significant and strategic differences.

Where did they come from?

Siri arrives on the desktop as the oldest of the growing class of digital assistants, appearing first on the iPhone 4S in 2011. It’s long been rumored that it would eventually come to the Mac, so no one was surprised when Apple announced exactly that earlier this month at its Worldwide Developers Conference.

Cortana (which was named for the synthetic intelligence in Microsoft’s popular Halo game series), arrived with Windows 10 in 2015, a year after the digital assistant’s formal introduction on Windows Phone at the 2014 Microsoft Build conference.


Siri macOS

Siri lives in two spots on the desktop and asks you to let the system know your location.

Image: Apple

Like Cortana, Siri has a permanent place on the macOS desktop. Actually, it has two. A tiny icon in the upper right corner and then another in the macOS dock. Both launch the familiar Siri „waiting to help you“ wave.

On Windows, Cortana sits next to the Start Button. it has a circular halo icon and, next to that, the ever-present „Ask me anything.“


cortana

A click on the Cortana logo opens this Cortana window.

Image: microsoft

It’s at this point that the two assistants diverge. Cortana is a voice assistant, but, by default, it’s a text-driven one. Most people who use it will type something into the Cortana box. If you want to speak to Cortana — as I did many times for this article — you have to click the little microphone icon icon on the right side of the Cortana box.

While Cortana combines universal search with the digital assistant, Apple’s Siri drawn a line between the two.

Importantly, you can put Cortana in an always-listening mode, so it (she?) will wake when you say „Hey Cortana.“ Even though you can also wake the mobile Siri with „Hey Siri,“ macOS offers no such always-listening feature. For the purposes of this comparison, I left „Hey Cortana“ off.

Siri is a voice assistant. It has no text box. A click on either Siri icon opens the same black box in the upper right-hand side of the macOS desktop (it actually slides in from offscreen — a nice touch). As soon as you hit that button, Siri is listening, waiting for you to ask a question.

Sitting right next to Siri is Spotlight, which last year got a significant update. It’s a universal search that can pore over you Mac, the Web, iTunes, the App Store, maps.

So while Microsoft’s Cortana combines universal search with the digital assistant, Apple’s drawn a line between the two — sort of. Spotlight can perform many of the same searches as Siri. However, if you type a question into Spotlight, it may launch Siri. A trigger word appears to be „What’s.“

I really don’t know why Apple chose to keep Spotlight and Siri separate, but they may reconsider in future versions of macOS.

Battle of the assistants

It’s early days for Siri on the desktop, but I’m already impressed with its performance and intelligence — especially as it compares to Microsoft’s Cortana.

To test the two voice assistants, I first closed my office door. I wanted to speak in a normal voice and didn’t want to attract any annoyed stares.

Both Siri on macOS and Cortana start by asking you to open up your privacy settings a bit. They simply do their jobs better if they know where you are. So I followed Siri’s instructions and turned on location services on the macOS.


Here’s something else Siri on macOS and Cortana have in common: Both can tap into your system to, for example, find files and make system-level adjustments, but they’re both pretty inconsistent. Siri on macOS, obviously, is still a work in progress, so take these criticisms with a grain of salt. Even so, I suspect that there will, at least for some time, be limits to what Siri can do even after the forma macOS launch, especially as long as Spotlight survives.

When I asked Siri to „increase my screen brightness,“ it opened a System Preferences: Brightness slider box within Siri and told me „I made the screen a little brighter.“

Impressive.

When I asked Cortana the same question, it opened a Bing search result inside the Cortana box, which told me how to adjust screen brightness, but didn’t do it for me.

On the other hand, when I told Cortana to turn off my Wi-Fi, it turned it off, it returned a message of „Wi-Fi is now off“ and showed the setting to confirm.


Cortana and Siri Wi-Fi

On the left is how Cortana handles voice commands for turning on and off Wi-Fi. On the right is how Siri does it. When you turn off Wi-Fi (networking), you basically disable Siri.

Image: APPLE/MICROSOFT/COMPOSITE/MASHABLE

Siri can turn off Wi-Fi, too, but doing so also renders Siri for macOS useless. Unlike Cortana, it needs an Internet connection to work, which means once Siri on macOS has turned it off, you can’t use it to turn Wi-Fi back on. Even if you turn off network connectivity, Cortana will still be able to search your system.

Siri and Cortana excel at natural-language queries (asking questions in sentences), but Siri comes across as the smarter system.

It’s easy to check your schedule through both systems — you just need to ask one of them about your next appointment. However, Siri goes a big step further.


Siri on macOS

Changing you schedule should be this easy everywhere.

Image: apple

When I asked it about my next appointment, it showed me one for Thursday at 11:00 a.m. I then clicked the microphone icon below the calendar result and asked Siri, „Can you move that to 11:10.“ Siri responded, „Okay, I’ll make that change to your event. Shall I reschedule it?“ It then offered the option of confirming the change or cancelling it with my voice. Siri on macOS actually maintains the context between queries — that feels more like the future.

When I asked Cortana to make a similar change, it sent me to a Bing search result. (By the way, both voice assistants use Bing and neither will let you change it to Google.)

The level of conversational prowess in Siri could be a real game-changer and certainly puts Microsoft on notice.


macOS Siri

These are questions I can’t just ask Cortana.

Image: apple/composite/, mashable

Cortana and Siri on macOS both boast system access, but Siri does a better job of keeping track of system specs. I can ask about the speed of my system and how much iCloud storage I have left in Siri. Cortana, unfortunately, has no clue about my OneDrive storage and when I asked „How fast is my PC?“ I only got a Bing search result.

Where’s my stuff and who are you

Siri and Cortana each do a good job of finding system files that contain a keyword. For both, I asked, „Find me files with [keyword],“ and they both quickly showed me local, relevant results. Siri, however, excels at making results persistent. You can pin whatever you find to the notification center.


Cortana and Siri on macOS

On the left you can see that Cortana does a good job with image search, but won’t let me drag and drop from the window. On the right, Siri on macOS found me puppy pics and let me drag and drop one into an email that I plan to send to you.

Image: apple/microsoft/composite/mashable

Similarly, both voice assistants do a good job of finding images, but only Siri on macOS lets me drag and drop one of the image results into a document or email. When I tried to do the same thing with a Cortana result, it only dragged and dropped the HTML for the original query.

Siri did struggle with contacts. I tried initiating a text and got stuck in a sort of infinite loop — it just kept going back to asking me which of my duplicate contacts I wanted to text. This felt like a pre-release bug.

No winners yet

Since Apple is still working Siri for macOS, it’s way too soon to crown a voice-assistant champion. Even so, Siri on mac OS is already faster (Cortana’s voice recognition seems plodding by comparison) and it’s already outstripping Cortana on the intelligence front. On the other hand, Cortana truly shines when you can type into it, a feat impossible in Siri for macOS, unless you start in Spotlight and use one of the magic words to auto-launch Siri.

Microsoft, of course, has its own big Cortana update in the wings as part of the Windows 10 Anniversary Update due later this summer. It will increase Cortana’s intelligence and utility (order plane tickets, shop), but based on what I’ve seen in Siri for macOS, it may only help Cortana achieve parity on some features, while still leaving it trailing in others.

mashable.com/2016/06/22/siri-macos-vs-cortana

Siri creator Adam Cheyer nets $22.5 million for an Artificial Intelligence that can learn on its own

Viv Labs, a startup launched by a team that helped build Siri, just pulled in $12.5 million to finance a digital assistant that is able to teach itself.

TechCrunch first reported that Viv Labs has closed a Series B round led by Iconiq Capital that pushes the company’s valuation to „north of nine figures.“

A spokesperson for the company confirmed the investment to Mashable but declined to comment further.

According to TechCrunch, the company was not in need of new capital but was interested in the possibility of working with Iconiq, which Forbes has described as an „exclusive members-only Silicon Valley billionaires club.“ Together with a previous $10 million Series A round, the company has now raised a total of $22.5 million.

Unlike other digital assistants like Siri or Cortana, Viv can make up code on the fly, rather than relying on pre-programmed directives from developers.

Whereas Siri may be tripped up by questions or tasks it is not already programmed to understand, Viv can grasp natural language and link with a network of third-party information sources to answer a much wider range of queries or follow complex instructions.

Viv co-founders Dag Kittlaus, Adam Cheyer and Chris Brigham previously served on the team that created Siri, which started as an iPhone app before Apple acquired it in 2010 for a reported $200 million.

“I’m extremely proud of Siri and the impact it’s had on the world, but in many ways it could have been more,” Kittlaus told Wired last year.

The cofounders told Wired that they hope to one day integrate Viv into everyday objects, in effect making it a voice-activated user interface for the much-hyped „Internet of Things.“

The company plans to widely distribute its software by licensing it out to any number of companies, instead of selling it to one exclusive buyer. One potential business model mentioned in the Wired report is charging a fee when companies using the service complete transactions with customers.

Viv Labs is reportedly working towards launching a beta version of the software sometime this year.

Source: http://mashable.com/2015/02/20/viv-funding/

The company behind Viv, a powerful form of AI built by Siri’s creators which is able to learn from the world to improve upon its capabilities, has just closed on $12.5 million in Series B funding. Multiple sources close to the matter confirm the round, which was oversubscribed and values the company at north of nine figures.

The funding was led by Iconiq Capital, the so-called “Silicon Valley billionaires club” that operates a cross between a family office and venture capital firm.

While Iconiq may not be a household name, a Forbes investigation into its client list revealed people like Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Dustin Moskovitz and Sheryl Sandberg, Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, LinkedIn’s Reid Hoffman and other big names were on its roster.

In addition to Iconiq, Li Ka-shing’s Horizons Ventures and Pritzker Group VC also participated along with several private individuals. This new round follows the company’s $10 million Series A from Horizons, bringing the total funding to date to $22.5 million.

Viv Labs declined to comment on the investment.

Screen Shot 2015-02-20 at 11.29.57 AM

We understand that Viv Labs was not in need of new capital, but was rather attracted to the possibilities that working with Iconiq Capital provided. It was a round that was more “opportunistic” in nature, and was executed to accelerate the vision for the Viv product, which is meant to not only continue Siri’s original vision, but to actually surpass it in a number of areas.

Viv’s co-founders, Dag Kittlaus, Adam Cheyer and Chris Brigham, had previously envisioned Siri as an AI interface that would become the gateway to the entire Internet, parsing and understanding people’s queries which were spoken using natural language.

When Siri first launched its product, it supported 45 services, but ultimately the team wanted to expand it with the help of third parties to access the tens of thousands of APIs available on the Internet today.

That didn’t come to pass, because Apple ended up acquiring Siri instead for $200 million back in 2010. The AI revolution the team once sought was left unfinished, and Siri became a device-centric product – one that largely connects users to Apple’s services and other iOS features. Siri can only do what it’s been programmed to do, and when it doesn’t know an answer, it kicks you out to the web.

Siri

Of course, Apple should be credited for seeing the opportunity to bring an AI system like Siri to the masses, by packaging it up and marketing it so people could understand its value. Siri investor Gary Morgenthaler, a partner at Morgenthaler Ventures, who also invested personally in Viv Labs’ new round, agrees.

“Now 500 million people globally have access to Siri,” he says. “More than 200 million people use it monthly, and more than 100 million people use it every day. By my count, that’s the fastest uptake of any technology in history – faster than DVD, faster than smartphones – it’s just amazing,” Morgenthaler adds.

But Siri today is limited. While she’s able to perform simpler tasks, like checking your calendar or interacting with apps like OpenTable, she struggles to piece information together. She can’t answer questions that she hasn’t already been programmed to understand.

Viv is different. It can parse natural language and complex queries, linking different third-party sources of information together in order to answer the query at hand. And it does so quickly, and in a way that will make it an ideal user interface for the coming Internet of Things — that is, the networked, everyday objects that we’ll interact with using voice commands.

Wired article about Viv and its creators described the system as one that will be “taught by the world, know more than it was taught and it will learn something new everyday.”

Morgenthaler, who says he’s seen Viv in action, calls it “impressive.”

“It does what it claims to do,” he says. The part that still needs to be put into action, however, is the most crucial: Viv needs to be programmed by the world in order to really come to life.

Beyond Siri

While to some extent, Viv is the next iteration of Siri in terms of this vision of connecting people to a world of knowledge that’s accessed via voice commands, in many ways it’s very different. It’s potentially much more powerful than other intelligent assistants accessed by voice, including not only Siri, but also Google Now, Microsoft’s Cortana or Amazon’s Alexa.

Unlike Siri, the system is not static. Viv will have memory.

“It will understand its users in the aggregate, with respect to their language, their behavior, and their intent,” explains Morgenthaler. But it will also understand you and your own behavior and preferences, he says. “It will adjust its weighting and probabilities so it gets things right more often. So it will learn from its experiences in that regard,” he says.

Screen Shot 2015-02-20 at 11.29.04 AM

In Wired’s profile, Viv was described as being valuable to the service economy, ordering an Uber for you because you told the system “I’m drunk,” for example, or making all the arrangements for your Match.com date including the car, the reservations and even flowers.

Another option could be booking flights for business travelers, who speak multi-part queries like “I want a short flight to San Francisco with a return three days later via Dallas.” Viv would show you your options and you’d tell it to book the ticket – which it would proceed to do for you, already knowing things like your seat and meal preferences as well as your frequent flyer number.

Also unlike Siri today, Viv will be open to third-party developers. And it will be significantly easier for developers to add new functionality to Viv, as compared to Siri in the past. This openness will allow Viv to add new domains of knowledge to its “global brain” more quickly.

Having learned from their experiences with Apple, the Viv Labs team is not looking to sell its AI to a single company but instead is pursuing a business model where Viv will be made available to anyone with the goal of becoming a ubiquitous technology. In the future, if the team succeeds, a Viv icon may be found on Internet-connected devices, informing you of the device’s AI capabilities.

For that reason, the investment by Iconiq makes sense, given its clients run some of the largest Internet companies today.

Screen Shot 2015-02-20 at 11.30.18 AM

We understand that Viv will launch a beta of its software sometime this year, which will be the first step towards having it “programmed by the world.”

Morgenthaler says there’s no question that the team can deliver – after all, they took Siri from the whiteboard to a “world-changing technology” in just 28 months, he notes. The questions instead for Viv Labs are around scalability and its ability to bring in developers. It needs to deliver on all these big promises to users, and generate sufficient interest from the wider developer community. It also needs to find a distribution path and partners who will help bring it to market — again, things that Iconiq can help with.

But Viv Labs is not alone in pursing its goal. Google bought AI startup DeepMind for over half a billion, has since gone on to aqui-hire more AI teams and, as Wired noted, has also hired AI legends Geoffrey Hinton and Ray Kurzweil to join its company.

Viv may not deliver on its full vision right out of the gate, but its core engine has been built at this point and it works. Plus, the timing for AI’s next step feels right.

“The idea of embedding a microphone and Internet access is plummeting in price,” says Morgenthaler. “If access to global intelligence and the ability to recognize you, recognize your speech, understand what you said, and provide you services in an authenticated way – if that is available, that’s really transformative.”

Source: http://techcrunch.com/2015/02/20/viv-built-by-siris-creators-scores-12-5-million-for-an-ai-technology-that-can-teach-itself/