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  1. The geeks of mobile, and especially the Windows Phone fans, are eagerly awaiting Microsoft's Cortana voice-controlled assistant. That's not only because it will finally be an answer to Google Now and Apple's Siri, so their friends with iPhones or Android handsets will have one less reason to brag, but also because Microsoft is big in artificial intelligence, voice recognition and simultaneous translation research. Whether or not the amazing R&D demonstrations that you see in the embedded video below, will be transferred successfully to Cortana, remains to be seen, and likely very soon. Acclaimed leaker MSFTNerd hinted that it will arrive to Lumia devices in beta form some time in April, just as we heard. Actually that's when this year's Build conference will be held, so no wonder there will be new WP features presented, as well as the rumored Threshold UI for the Windows portfolio. Cortana, claims the source, will be voice-overed by Jen Taylor, who does the accent of the same character in the Halo franchise. It is also coming to the Bing app in iOS, Xbox One consoles, and, naturally, to Windows 9 "Threshold", when it hits your computer next spring. That's the timeframe also for Cortana to reach countries other than the US, as it will apparently launch in beta stateside only for this year. Some sample questions it will answer are below, evidently you will be able to make small talk, like with Google's or Apple's virtual assistants: "Bing Tell Me .." “.. will it rain today?” “.. when’s my next meeting?” “.. how do I get to the American Airlines Arena?” Source
  2. Though you’ve never met Susan Bennett, you are probably more familiar with her than you think. You may have asked her for directions, what the weather is like, the score to baseball games and even to remind you to pick up dog food. Bennett has revealed herself the voice of Apple’s original Siri, and in a recent interview with CNN, she dished on, among other things, how she came to be the one to give life to your favorite snarky personal assistant. Bennett has done voice work for automated systems since the 1970s. Her first job in the biz was as the voice of Tilly the all-time teller, the first ATM machine. She’s also lent her vocals to GPS devices, automated telephone systems and even Delta airlines terminals. “The Siri voices were recorded in 2005, in the month of July, four hours a day for the whole month,” Bennett told CNN. “When I recorded those voices, I had absolutely no idea where they would end up.” Software company ScanSoft, which eventually merged with Nuance Communications, approached Bennett about doing some recordings that would be used in a database to construct speech. Nuance is believed to be the company that partnered with Apple to provide the technology behind Siri. Though Bennett’s thought was that the voice samples would be used in company telephone systems, according to CNN, she first heard her voice as Siri in 2011 the same way many of us did - on Apple’s iPhone 4s. “The first time I actually heard my voice as Siri was when my friend emailed me and said, ‘Isn’t this you?’ Bennett said. “And because I didn’t have the newest version of the iPhone, I went to the Apple site and that’s where I heard the voice, and I just went, ‘Ohh, hmm. That is me.’” Apple has yet to confirm that the Susan Bennett recordings were what was used to create the original Siri voice, but legal representation for Bennett has vouched for her and audio-forensics have told CNN that Bennett and the Siri voice are a “100%” match. Bennett says she was inspired to reveal herself after a feature in tech news site The Verge called "How Siri Found Its Voice," after which many readers concluded that the voice of Siri was another voice actress, Allison Dufty. Dufty cleared up the record on her own website; her website now comes with a disclaimer that she is "positively NOT the voice of Siri." Great Britain's Siri -- a man on the UK version of the phone -- is Jon Briggs, a voice actor who revealed himself in 2011 shortly after the release of the iPhone 4S. The identity of the American Siri had been kept a mystery for some time, but now it appears Bennett has provided a definitive answer... ...for now, at least: With iOS 7, Apple has given users two options for Siri voices, a male and female now. And though Apple will neither confirm or deny, it sounds as though Bennett’s female voice has been replaced. As for the sometimes “snippy” tone of our beloved original Siri, there may be an explanation for that. "There are some people that just can read hour upon hour upon hour, and it's not a problem,” Bennett explained to CNN. “For me, I get extremely bored ... So I just take breaks. That's one of the reasons why Siri might sometimes sound like she has a bit of an attitude. Those sounds might have been recorded the last 15 minutes of those four hours." Siri, it’s nice to meet you. Original Article: http://news.yahoo.com/apple-siri-132922340.html
  3. Microsoft's head of research gave a lengthy interview for Bloomberg, hinting that the largest piece of the R&D budget is now going to artificial intelligence, and, to be precise, virtual assistants that can answer 'Why' questions. That's apparently the hard thing to master, instead of just digging up info to answer a line of leading questions. For example, Microsoft has a smart elevator in store, which can predict which floor are you trying to get to before you've pushed the button, based on your individual habits and conversations with colleagues like lunch plans. Taking you there, for instance, would be an answer to the question "Why would this person want to go to this floor right now?" It might sound scary, but the research chief claims safeguards are built in, preventing the AI project from connecting individual data with said habits. We hope some of this predictive artificial intelligence work will find its way into Microsoft's upcoming virtual assistant Cortana for Windows Phone, though we aren't sure if mobile chipsets and storage will be able to handle the data load to such an extent. Oh, well, give us at least the simultaneous translation service, Microsoft, and we'll call it even. Source
  4. Siri, Apple’s voice-enabled personal assistant software, was very cool when it first came out, but it hasn’t exactly aged gracefully. For one thing, it’s slow compared to other voice recognition services and for another it needs an Internet connection to function at all. Quartz reports that Intel is working on voice recognition technology that’s designed to be both faster than Siri and to work without an Internet connection so you can use it wherever you need it. Intel is designing the software, currently dubbed Jarvis, to run on an Intel chip that fits inside a headset that interacts with your smartphone. Although you’ll obviously still need an Internet connection to get real-time information such as traffic conditions and sports score updates, Intel’s new service will handle much more basic smartphone functions that really shouldn’t require a web connection to execute. This means that if we tell our smartphone to, say, answer a call or to play a song that’s stored on the device, it will do so instantly without the typical 3-to-4-second delay that comes with most voice-enabled assistants. “How annoying is it when you’re in Yosemite and your personal assistant doesn’t work because you can’t get a wireless connection?” Intel wearables chief Mike Bell tells Quartz. “It’s fine if it can’t make a dinner reservation because the phone can’t get to the cloud. But why can’t it get me Google Maps on the phone or turn off the volume?” Quartz says that Intel is pitching the technology to “unnamed mobile phones manufacturers, which could allow them to differentiate themselves from Apple and Google’s usual offerings,” so it looks like Siri and Google Now could get yet another competitor in the near future. Source
  5. ANDY (Siri for Android) - PAID v11.0x Full Andy X is an intelligent (Siri like) personal assistant, knowledge navigator and voice control software designed for Android devices (phones/tablets). This is a full version of Andy Extra (Siri for Android) - All features unlocked and No Advertising! Currently Supported features: Quote Homepage: Google Play store Download: Site: http://www.tusfiles.net Sharecode[?]: /mpaxdjhxl139 Mirror (mobile friendly link) : Site: http://www.indishare.com Sharecode[?]: /o5l9cs279hvp
  6. In the battle of the mobile personal assistants, Google Now seems to have the edge compared to Apple’s Siri. At least that’s what a study conducted by Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster has found. Google’s service has become slightly more accurate than Apple’s, despite the situation being the opposite last December. Munster used 800 questions about local information, commerce, navigation, general information, and OS commands. Half of those were asked indoors, and half outdoors. Google Now and Siri were tested in both how well they understood what was asked of them, as well as the accuracy of their answers. Google Now managed to give accurate answers to 86% of the questions it heard correctly, compared to 84% for Siri. Back in December, when a similar test was conducted, Apple’s assistant had the lead with 83% to 81%. This time around, Google Now was best at finding navigation data and local and general information. It fared worse than Siri at OS commands, though it has improved in this area lately. Siri was able to answer 4% of queries on its own, without directing the user to a search engine or website. That’s a marked improvement from December’s study, when it managed to do that in less than 1% of the cases. In the end, Google Now went home with a grade of B (up from C+ last year), and Siri had to make do with a B- (also an improvement compared to its C+ from 2013). Source
  7. Microsoft has a new ad out and it pits Windows Phone 8.1′s virtual assistant Cortana against Apple’s own Siri in a fight to prove which is the best. The assistants battle on the grounds of a Lumia 635 and iPhone 5s. Microsoft naturally picks its strong suits asking Cortana for things it knows it can do like set up a reminder for the next time a contact calls. In this instance it’s “when my wife calls remind me to tell her happy anniversary” – smooth move letting her call first. Siri plainly says it cannot do that. However when Siri can’t do something the words will appear on screen – in the ad Siri just has What can I help you with on screen. And while Siri cannot remind you something when a call arrives it will store a reminder for you to wish happy anniversary to your wife. Have a feel at the video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w0pjD4qpIpg Source
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