Ghosts in the ma­chine

> Tech gi­ants are now com­pet­ing to de­velop the per­fect ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence for their var­i­ous de­vices

The Sun (Malaysia) - - TECH TODAY -

MA­JOR tech­nol­ogy firms are rac­ing to in­fuse smart­phones and other in­ter­net-linked de­vices with soft­ware that helps them think like peo­ple. The ef­fort is seen as an evo­lu­tion in com­put­ing that al­lows users to in­ter­act with ma­chines in a nat­u­ral con­ver­sa­tion, telling de­vices to tend to tasks such as or­der­ing goods, check­ing traf­fic, mak­ing restau­rant reser­va­tions, or search­ing for in­for­ma­tion.

The ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence (AI) com­po­nent in th­ese pro­grams aims to cre­ate a world in which ev­ery­one can have a vir­tual aide that gets to know them bet­ter with each in­ter­ac­tion.

Here are some of the of­fer­ings avail­able:

Google Google is mak­ing a high-pro­file push into AI, with the in­ter­net ti­tan’s chief re­fer­ring to it as a force for change as pow­er­ful as smart­phones.

Google As­sis­tant soft­ware is be­ing built into new Pixel hand­sets – aim­ing to outdo Ap­ple’s Siri – en­abling users to or­gan­ise and use in­for­ma­tion on the de­vices and in the cloud – to check emails, stay up to date on cal­en­dar ap­point­ments and news, or ask for traf­fic and weather data.

Google also of­fers AI through its Allo mes­sag­ing app which can be in­stalled on smart­phones, and its Google Home hub, a stand­alone de­vice sim­i­lar to Ama­zon’s Echo which re­sponds to voice com­mands to man­age tasks and fetch in­for­ma­tion where peo­ple live.

Sam­sung The South Korean elec­tron­ics gi­ant moved to jump­start its AI ef­forts by pur­chas­ing the US startup Viv Labs, launched by the cre­ators of Ap­ple’s Siri.

Sam­sung says the ac­qui­si­tion, an­nounced this month as part of its ef­fort to pro­vide AI-based voice as­sis­tance ser­vices to its cus­tomers, can be used across all Sam­sung de­vices and prod­ucts, from smart­phones to tele­vi­sions to wash­ing ma­chines.

Be­sides Google’s free An­droid soft­ware, Sam­sung’s smart­phones are also pow­ered by its own Tizen mo­bile oper­at­ing sys­tem. How this new vir­tual as­sis­tant tech­nol­ogy will be in­te­grated to both sys­tems re­mains to be seen.

Ama­zon Ama­zon in 2014 un­veiled its Echo home as­sis­tant, a voice-ac­ti­vated speaker, pow­ered by its Alexa AI pro­gram. Users can ask for news or in­for­ma­tion up­dates, as well as or­der goods from the on­line re­tail gi­ant. Echo also serves as a con­nected-home hub, which can con­trol com­pat­i­ble ap­pli­ances, light­bulbs and other de­vices.

Since in­tro­duc­ing Echo, Ama­zon has launched a smaller ver­sion called Dot, and has in­te­grated Alexa into its Fire TV de­vices.

Mi­crosoft Mi­crosoft’s per­sonal as­sis­tant uses the name Cor­tana, and is avail­able on Win­dows de­vices and its Xbox con­sole and as an ap­pli­ca­tion on Ap­ple iOS and An­droid de­vices.

Un­veiled in 2014, Cor­tana – a name based on a char­ac­ter in its block­buster game Halo – re­sponds to con­ver­sa­tion­ally-spo­ken re­quests or com­mands, us­ing in­sights gleaned from cal­en­dars, con­tact lists, on­line searches and other smart­phone sources to re­spond in a man­ner akin to a real-life aide.

Face­book Face­book, heav­ily in­vest­ing in ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence, is widely be­lieved to be work­ing on a per­sonal as­sis­tant with the co­de­name M. The so­cial net­work’s founder Mark Zucker­berg has said he wants to cre­ate a real-life ver­sion of Jarvis, the al­most human-like com­puter as­sis­tant in the Marvel Comics se­ries Iron Man. For now, Face­book is en­abling AI-pow­ered ‘bots’ on its Mes­sen­ger mo­bile app, which al­lows users to get an­swers to ques­tions and en­gage in text ex­changes as though chat­ting with the so­cial net­work it­self.

Ap­ple Ap­ple was the first to of­fer its per­sonal as­sis­tant, in­tro­duc­ing Siri for the iPhone in 2011, and has been work­ing to im­prove it over the years. Re­cently, Siri was up­graded to in­ter­act with non-Ap­ple apps, so users can book a ride with Lyft or make pay­ments us­ing Square Cash. Ap­ple has also in­tro­duced a Home ap­pli­ca­tion that can con­nect with smart ap­pli­ances and other de­vices, and is re­port­edly work­ing on a stand­alone speaker sim­i­lar to Ama­zon Echo and Google Home. – The In­de­pen­dent

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.