Microsoft to Mine LinkedIn Data, Advance Machine Learning

Microsoft just paid $26.2 billion to buy LinkedIn and its treasure trove of information about the business social network’s 105.5 million monthly active users. That enormous quantity of data will drive machine learning to create and evolve products as well as anticipate customer needs. Microsoft isn’t alone in going after large repositories of data for that very reason. As Microsoft, Apple and Alphabet exploit the possibilities of machine learning, they all are competing for the information necessary to find actionable patterns. Continue reading Microsoft to Mine LinkedIn Data, Advance Machine Learning

WWDC: Apple Unveils OS Enhancements, Opens Siri to World

Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference kicked off yesterday in San Francisco with a two-hour keynote that introduced new enhancements coming to iOS, watchOS, tvOS and Mac OS X (now called macOS). Developer previews of the operating systems are being made available now, with public betas to follow next month, and integration with Apple devices by fall. Among the highlights: live channels and YouTube search are coming to Apple TV, Siri is coming to the desktop, a new SDK invites developers to create Siri apps, iPhone users can dump unwanted apps, Apple Pay is expanded to Safari, Apple Music gets a new interface, and watchOS 3 loads apps seven times faster. Continue reading WWDC: Apple Unveils OS Enhancements, Opens Siri to World

Mary Meeker Trends Report Predicts Slow Growth for Internet

The 2016 Internet Trends report, presented by Mary Meeker, general partner at Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers, states that growth of Internet users worldwide is flat and smartphone growth is slowing. At Recode’s media and tech Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, Meeker revealed that the global number of Internet users is about 3 billion, 42 percent of the world’s population. The slowdown, she says is part of a global gross domestic product growth below the 20-year average in six of the last eight years. Continue reading Mary Meeker Trends Report Predicts Slow Growth for Internet

Apple Plans Release of Siri SDK, New Home Assistant Device

Apple is reportedly prepping an SDK that would provide developers with more access to the company’s digital assistant Siri, while a stationary hub similar to Amazon’s Echo is in the works. We should expect an announcement, or possibly the new device, during next month’s WWDC. Apple is facing new competition in this space, and opening Siri “to all developers would go far to make an adequate virtual assistant into a powerful and convenient one,” suggests TechCrunch. “And, as Apple works at shoehorning itself into households with HomeKit, a versatile voice-activated hub seems a natural addition.” Continue reading Apple Plans Release of Siri SDK, New Home Assistant Device

Google Open Sources Language Tools for Virtual Assistants

Google is open-sourcing SyntaxNet, a neural network framework that provides a foundation for Natural Language Understanding (NLU), and Parsey McParseface, a computer program that helps machines understand written English. Offering the code for free lets anyone develop, modify and distribute it, furthering natural language and potentially making Google’s code the standard. Earlier, Google open-sourced its machine-learning code TensorFlow (which SyntaxNet runs on top of); other companies that have similarly open-sourced code include Amazon and Facebook.

Continue reading Google Open Sources Language Tools for Virtual Assistants

Siri Creators Introduce Next Generation Digital Assistant Viv

Siri co-founders Dag Kittlaus and Adam Cheyer are getting ready to debut Viv, a new platform and virtual assistant that represents the latest frontier in artificial intelligence. In development for four years, Viv was recently tested by a group of engineers who were able to place an order for several pizzas — without a Google search, phone call or app — and the pizzas were delivered as requested. That success has been repeated with about 50 partners, and will be publicly demonstrated at a major industry event today. Continue reading Siri Creators Introduce Next Generation Digital Assistant Viv

Bots Could Replace Apps for Microsoft, Facebook and Others

Bots are text or language-based user interfaces to a service rather than ones that are graphical, and they’re getting a boost from several big technology companies, especially those that missed out on smartphones and their apps. Microsoft has described a vision of bots that can do everything from book a hotel room to order pizza, and has debuted tools to make it easier for a developer or small business owner to build one. Now, Facebook has plans to roll out a bot store that connects with its Messenger service. Continue reading Bots Could Replace Apps for Microsoft, Facebook and Others

At Mobile World Congress, Seven Trends Point to the Future

At Mobile World Congress, phone manufacturers introduced new hardware and software. Rivals Samsung and LG competed with new screens, cameras, and payment technologies. From the perspective of advertisers, however, other mobile capabilities are emerging that are likely to have significant impact on how brands and consumers interact. Among those developments, messaging evolves into a dominant platform, artificial intelligence becomes “our best friend,” and ad blocking forces mobile content behind a pay wall. Continue reading At Mobile World Congress, Seven Trends Point to the Future

New Voice-Powered App Takes On Leading Digital Assistants

Santa Clara-based startup SoundHound has developed a voice-powered digital assistant that could take on early players in the field, including Siri, Google Now and Cortana. Like the others, the Hound app (for iOS and Android) allows users to interact via voice so that it can perform requested tasks. However, Hound claims to be faster and smarter than its competitors. The app has been in beta with 150,000 testers since last summer, and is now publicly available along with new Yelp and Uber partnerships for restaurant info and ride hailing from within the app. Continue reading New Voice-Powered App Takes On Leading Digital Assistants

Future of Artificial Intelligence for Enterprise and Consumers

Proponents of artificial intelligence are quick to point out that, as Google searches and Siri exemplify, it’s nothing new. In fact, panelists talking about “The Future of Artificial Intelligence” at CES described their own and others’ efforts in the field dating back to 2007. But a combination of a new trend in collecting and curating massive amounts of data, along with widespread cloud usage, is opening to the doors to more platforms and applications for artificial intelligence in enterprise and consumer markets. Continue reading Future of Artificial Intelligence for Enterprise and Consumers

Facebook Adds Uber Ride-Hailing Service to Messenger App

Facebook users will soon be able to start hailing an Uber ride without leaving the Messenger app. The new partnership will also allow the Uber service to capitalize on Facebook Messenger’s millions of users. Facebook plans to add other ride-sharing companies in the coming months. The new service is part of Facebook’s strategy to emulate rival Asian apps such as WeChat, which already allows users to message each other, hail rides, and shop for goods and games. Continue reading Facebook Adds Uber Ride-Hailing Service to Messenger App

SoundHound Offers Digital Assistant Platform to Developers

SoundHound’s Hound app, which is designed to rival digital assistants like Siri, Cortana and Google Now, will be available to third-party developers for the first time. The company best known for its music recognition app released the Houndify platform so that developers can add the Hound digital assistant to their own products. According to the company, Hound can answer complex queries with data from partners like Expedia, AccuWeather, Sportradar and Xignite. Continue reading SoundHound Offers Digital Assistant Platform to Developers

Apple Shelves Live TV Service, Opens App Store to Developers

Apple has put its plans to offer a live Internet-based television service — a package of 14 or more channels for $30 to $40 a month — on hold, say sources. Media companies balked at the prices Apple wants to pay, in order to keep its own subscription price low. Executives from Starz and other outlets have already stated they expect Apple and Amazon to pay more, not less, than existing distributors for media. Instead, Apple has pivoted to opening up its App Store so media companies to sell directly to customers. Continue reading Apple Shelves Live TV Service, Opens App Store to Developers

Companies Develop New Applications for Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence is moving into the mainstream and the San Francisco-based Sentient is one example of how it’s working. The company most recently built a visual search service for an online footwear company, Shoes.com, and also worked with Saint Michael’s Hospital at the University of Toronto on tracking patient care. Rather than rely on history for recommendations, the technology looks at more than a hundred factors to make judgments. Microsoft is also building AI into its products, including its Azure cloud platform. Continue reading Companies Develop New Applications for Artificial Intelligence

Toyota Invests $1 Billion in Planned Return to Traditional R&D

Facebook, Google and numerous startups are among those actively researching new possibilities with artificial intelligence technology. Japanese automaker Toyota is joining the crusade with a five-year, $1 billion R&D effort. The planned Silicon Valley facility will become one of the largest research labs in the area. Toyota Research Institute will initially open a lab next to Stanford and an additional facility near MIT in Cambridge. Toyota’s plans represent a shift in tech research — a return to a focus on science and engineering rather than a push for tech that would become a specific product or service. Continue reading Toyota Invests $1 Billion in Planned Return to Traditional R&D

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