#459 May 11, 2016 – A New Paradigm for Virtual Assistant Software

This week’s headline story: A New Paradigm for Virtual Assistant Software

vivSiri has a younger sister! Her name is Viv. Viv is a virtual assistant with supercharged conversational capabilities developed by the creator of Siri. Viv and similar technologies in development will allow people to make verbal commands such as “get me a large cheese pizza from Mamma-mia’s pizzeria” and the AI handles all the details – phoning in the order, arranging payment, and providing delivery instructions. Or, you might ask Viv to find a sushi bar nearby with available seating, book opera tickets, or find a parking space. Viv represents the next “new paradigm” for how people interact with computers. The technology’s unique character comes from its use of dynamic program generation, an intelligent method for creating software on the fly depending upon the intent of a user’s request. The quest to define the next generation of artificial-intelligence technology has sparked an arms race among the five major tech giants: Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Amazon.com have all announced major investments in virtual-assistant software over the past year.

In other news:

  • Building AI Is Hard—So Facebook Is Building AI That Builds AI [Wired]
    Building Artificial Intelligence software – better known as AI’s, is hard work. Specialists in the area spend a lot of time training their AI’s, through many iterations of trial and error, to come up with correct solutions. Now companies like Facebook are building AI’s that can help build new AI/s. Facebook engineers have designed what they like to call an “automated machine learning engineer.” This automated system handles much of the grunt work involved in AI development providing human engineers more time to focus on bigger ideas and tougher problems.
  • AIs are starting to learn like human babies by grasping and poking objects [Quartz]
    Besides getting smarter, AI systems are also acquiring bodies! Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University are teaching robots to learn by touch, much like human babies. The experiment one day could allow artificial intelligence to learn about the physical environment through senses, including touch. The development draws robotics and AI closer together, paving the way for potential unified applications in factories, automated deliveries of goods, or household assistants.
  • Mystery Solved? Australian Says He’s Bitcoin Founder [NewsFactor]
    An Australian man has publicly identified himself as the creator of the digital currency, Bitcoin. If true, the claim would put an end to one of the biggest mysteries in the tech world. Craig Wright told the BBC News he is the man previously known by the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto. The computer scientist, inventor and academic said he launched the currency in 2009 with the help of others.

in Information Security News…

and in Tech Industry news…

  • Windows 10 Installed on 300 Million Devices [NewsFactor]
    Almost a year after the launch of Windows 10, the latest Microsoft operating system has been installed on some 300 million active devices around the globe including PCs, tablets, smartphones, Xbox consoles, and other devices. The opportunity for users to upgrade to the latest version of Windows for free will end July 29.


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