World News:

Google Duplex, an impressive technology humans
Google introduced Google Duplex a bit more than a year ago and its level of sophistication surprised the world. The free service that uses AI to mimic a human voice and call restaurants rolled out in 43 U.S. states a few months back. The New York Times recently unveiled that the service was indeed relying on humans in a call center. Google commented that 25% of calls placed through Duplex actually started with a human and that humans intervened in about 15% of the calls. This is somehow no surprise as, like any other AI service, Duplex needs a lot of data to learn and improve. Link (New York Times)

Alexa introduces a command to delete voice recordings
Probably in response to critics, Alexa introduces a new functionality allowing users to delete records. Users can now say, “Alexa, delete everything I said today,” to wipe out the day’s history of audio requests. Amazon also said it will soon give customers the ability to delete their most recent requests by saying, “Alexa, delete what I just said”. The functionality was already available in the Alexa app, but Amazon is making more prominent and accessible. While it doesn’t change much in terms of privacy, it looks like all the big platforms that are now communicating around privacy. Link (Voicebot)

  •  Flashback:  Blomberg and the clickbait article “Amazon workers are listening to what you tell Alexa” in This Week in Voice #5

European News:

Amazon introduces the Echo Show 5″
The 5″ screen smart speaker from Amazon will arrive in Europe at the end of the month. With a compact design, an HD camera (including a shutter) and competitive price (€89.99), the new device will certainly meet success. It also goes with the trend of multi-modality whereby voice first devices are also equipped with a screen. Link (Journal de la Voix – in French)

The success of the Church of England’s Alexa Skill
While a lot of people are watching for new break-through voice-based services and games, it seems that spirituality is also moving to voice and it is a success. The Church of England reported that 75’000 questions have been asked using its Alexa Skill. The Church keeps on improving its Skill by adding Video for example in order to improve user experience. A (holy) path to follow by developers. Link (Church of England)

 

Alexis Hue

Alexis Hue

Alexis is the founder of Voice & You, a boutique consulting agency where he advises brands on how to utilize Voice to increase their competitive advantage. Part-time venture capitalist, part-time entrepreneur, and originally from France, Alexis now lives in Berlin.