Amazon Tests AI Customer Support Agents, Opens Go Market

Amazon is testing two AI-powered systems as customer support agents, one of which will automatically field customer calls without human intervention and the other which will help human service agents respond more quickly to requests. Amazon applied-science manager Jared Kramer said the AI agents rely on machine learning and refer requests they can’t handle to human agents. Amazon also debuted its cashierless “Go” technology in a large grocery store, in advance of possibly licensing the system to other retailers. Continue reading Amazon Tests AI Customer Support Agents, Opens Go Market

CES Panel Discusses the Industries That Are Integrating AI

Experts have made it clear that artificial intelligence will soon impact all industries, and at a CES panel on “AI — All Industry Integration,” moderated by Future PLC global editor-in-chief Bill Gannon, three experts teased out what that means for chatbots, computers, smartphones and automotive. All three noted some of the common challenges, including the need to change current business models, proactively provide mechanisms for users to guard their data and find ways to cope with the unforeseen going forward. Continue reading CES Panel Discusses the Industries That Are Integrating AI

CES Panel Addresses the Myths and Realities of Today’s AI

Artificial intelligence is not particularly well understood, especially by consumers, suggested USA Today technology columnist Ed Baig, who moderated a CES panel on “Myth and Reality in Today’s AI.” One of the biggest myths addressed was that AI results in people losing their jobs. Foundation Capital partner Joanne Chen stated that, “nobody has lost their job due to AI.” Unity Technologies vice president of AI/machine learning Dr. Danny Lange agreed. “People will not lose their jobs but do other things,” he said. Continue reading CES Panel Addresses the Myths and Realities of Today’s AI

Amazon Web Services Unveils AI Tools for Enterprise Clients

Amazon introduced Contact Lens for Amazon Connect and Amazon Kendra, two AI-enabled tools to help enterprise customers gain more information from data found in multiple sources. Both services, available for preview now on Amazon Web Services, assist cloud customers in incorporating natural language processing in a timely fashion. According to Amazon, Contact Lens for Amazon Connect and Amazon Kendra’s functionality are based on the integration of machine learning. Both services are plug-and-play. Continue reading Amazon Web Services Unveils AI Tools for Enterprise Clients

DARPA Attempts to Stop Automated Disinformation Attacks

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) published a concept document for the Semantic Forensics (SemaFor) program, aimed at stopping “large-scale, automated disinformation attacks,” by detecting fakes among thousands of audio clips, photos, stories and video. As the 2020 Presidential election approaches, U.S. officials are working to prevent hackers from spreading disinformation on social platforms, but Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell won’t consider any election security laws. Continue reading DARPA Attempts to Stop Automated Disinformation Attacks

Already Internet Celebs, Virtual Beings Get First Emmy Nod

Fable Studio’s “Wolves in the Walls,” a VR adaptation of a Neil Gaiman children’s book, won a Primetime Emmy Award for outstanding innovation in interactive media. The player is in the role of an imaginary friend for the CG child Lucy and uses VR goggles and handheld motion controllers to join her on an investigation of strange noises in the house. Lucy is also the first “virtual being” to win an Emmy, according to Fable co-founder Edward Saatchi, who defines that as a digital character with whom you have a two-way relationship. Virtual beings are growing in popularity on social platforms such as Instagram, where some are becoming digital influencers. Continue reading Already Internet Celebs, Virtual Beings Get First Emmy Nod

CES: A Look at Robots, Conscious Computers and Humanity

During CES, Gigaom publisher Byron Reese discussed the ideas in his latest book, “The Fourth Age: Smart Robots, Conscious Computers and the Future of Humanity” with CTA’s Cindy Stevens. Reese’s previous three ages are Language and Fire; Agriculture and Cities; Writing and Wheels. But robotics and conscious computers, said Reese, divide people into two groups. “People like Stephen Hawking see AI as an existential threat,” he said. “Whereas Mark Zuckerberg and others think that’s ridiculous and can’t fathom that point of view.” Continue reading CES: A Look at Robots, Conscious Computers and Humanity

Retailers Adopt Software, Chatbots to Hone Customer Service

To battle Amazon’s ubiquity and customers’ fickle loyalty, some retailers are testing the new Customer 360 software from Salesforce.com and Freshworks to improve their customer service. The software lets retailers build shopper profiles similar to Facebook to better understand what each customer wants and increase the odds that he or she will become more loyal to the retailer in question. Other strategies retailers are employing are the use of improved chatbots and better customer support training. Continue reading Retailers Adopt Software, Chatbots to Hone Customer Service

Microsoft Chatbot Xiaoice Excels at AI-to-Human Engagement

Unlike Siri, Alexa, Google Assistant and Microsoft’s own Cortana, the latter’s social chatbot Xiaoice (pronounced “Shao-ice”) isn’t constructed simply to answer questions or resolve problems but can also tell jokes, write poetry, and exhibit “empathic computing” abilities. In China, Xiaoice resided on Huawei smartphones and was a weather reader on Dragon TV, a Shanghai TV station. Debuted in China in May 2014, Xiaoice has had more than 30 billion mainly text conversations with 660 million people around the world. Continue reading Microsoft Chatbot Xiaoice Excels at AI-to-Human Engagement

Intel AI Lab Reveals Plans to Open-Source More NLP Libraries

The Intel AI Lab, which open-sourced a library for natural language processing, plans to open-source more such libraries, to help developers and researchers speed up the process of giving virtual assistants and chatbots functions such as name entity recognition, intent extraction and semantic parsing. With new libraries, these developers can also publish research, train and deploy artificial intelligence and reproduce the latest innovations in the AI community. Intel’s first conference for AI developers was held May 23-24 in San Francisco. Continue reading Intel AI Lab Reveals Plans to Open-Source More NLP Libraries

Allstate’s Digital Assistant ‘Amelia’ Now Helps Call Center Reps

Allstate’s AI-powered chatbot, Amelia, continues helping the insurance company’s call center employees solve customer service issues efficiently. Since her original deployment in September, she’s already helped these employees with more than 3 million client conversations, answering questions through an instant messaging platform on employee desktops. In January alone, Amelia helped on 250,000 calls. Allstate and other insurance companies are turning to chatbots to stay ahead of insurance-focused startups looking to compete.

Continue reading Allstate’s Digital Assistant ‘Amelia’ Now Helps Call Center Reps

Startup Simplifies Voice App Development With New Interface

Storyline, a startup founded in September, has launched version 2 of its easy-to-use visual interface designed to help businesses, brands and publishers develop Amazon Alexa skills without the need for extensive coding knowledge. Since 39 million U.S. consumers now own a smart speaker, voice apps are needed, and Storyline hopes that its simple drag-and-drop solution will help foster that growth. The company refers to its approach as the “Weebly for voice apps,” drawing a comparison to the popular, easy-to-use, website-building platform. Continue reading Startup Simplifies Voice App Development With New Interface

Facebook, Google Pledge to Expand AI Investments in France

After top Google and Facebook executives met with French president Emmanuel Macron, the tech companies vowed to invest artificial intelligence resources in that country’s capital. Google will create a Paris-based AI lab focused on research into automatic learning, language and computer vision. Facebook, which already has created an AI lab in Paris, plans to double its 50-person team there by 2022 and spend 10 million euros ($12.2 million). Both companies also pledge to train that country’s citizens on digital tools. Continue reading Facebook, Google Pledge to Expand AI Investments in France

Google Project Aims to Use AI to Develop More AI Algorithms

Google Senior Fellow Jeff Dean, who works on the Google Brain team, recently highlighted AutoML (for machine learning), a project aimed at using AI-empowered machines to build other AI machines, removing humans from the equation. The need for AI algorithms grows as its capabilities are becoming important to a wide range of industries. But only an estimated 10,000 people worldwide have the education, expertise and ability to construct those algorithms, and Facebook, Google and Microsoft pay millions of dollars for them. Continue reading Google Project Aims to Use AI to Develop More AI Algorithms

LINE’s New Clova Wave Smart Speaker Is Available in Japan

LINE, known for its popular WhatsApp-style mobile messaging platform, has released a $125 smart speaker in Japan named Clova Wave, beating Amazon and Google to market. LINE has more than 220 million messaging users in the region. The company first announced the speaker device at a conference in June, after unveiling its new digital assistant, Clova. LINE also earlier announced a smart speaker called Champ, based on the LINE Friends characters, but no release date was revealed. LINE is a subsidiary of Naver Corp., South Korea’s largest web operator and search portal. Continue reading LINE’s New Clova Wave Smart Speaker Is Available in Japan

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