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How smart is your smart speaker?

Ok, so in my office, I have three smart speakers. One is on loan and is going back; the other two are ones I got when I was testing smart speakers. What I realized yesterday is that sometimes when I am thinking I talk to myself out loud. Yesterday I got a response from a disembodied voice “I’m sorry I can’t answer that.” It was in response to my soliloquy that honestly didn’t require a response. Rather, I was speaking to myself and didn’t need a response. Both Alexa and Cortana answered me. It did give me a great idea for a virtual therapy application. Then the social worker stepped in and said, you need a human being, a virtual therapist wouldn’t work. (she’s right, but it is still an interesting idea).

It is a one-sided argument often, and frankly, Alexa wins. When I ask a tough question of the smart speaker that well it doesn’t like I get the “I can’t answer that.” As a parent I know that is one of the best ways to make me stop being angry. It is also the one way that guarantees the child is professing that will get a lot of follow on questions.

The integration of voice control is interesting. It isn’t that hard to do, except for two parts. The first thing is the reality of natural language recognition.  The Virily Quizster Norman recently had a great post on the differences between “English” and America. It seems strange, but it is a critical thing. If you consider how a smart speaker listens and speaks, then as an American I want to know that I am about to be hit by a truck. An Englishperson would prefer that the smart speaker notify them of an approaching Lorry on a collision course. In setting up a smart speaker, you have to tell the system what language you re using. Yes, they all have options for American English and High Faluting proper, as they say, UK English.

That way when you ask to rent a flat your smart speaker will help you find an apartment!

They continue to improve, and frankly, smart speakers are petty good. The four big tech companies all have one, and I will end with that!

  • Amazon Alexa
  • Microsoft Cortana
  • Google Home
  • Apple Homepod
  • Do you speak American?

    • Yes
    • No
  • Do you speak the variation of English know of UK English?

    • Yes
    • No

What do you think?

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Written by DocAndersen

I am a long time blogger and technology poster.I focus on what is possible, but I also try to see what is coming. In recent years I have been focused on sharing the memories of my family, as part of my Family History Project.

17 Comments

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  1. I am not quite a tech person but I love watching my niece when she talks to Siri. The advance in technology is sure fascinating and sometimes it confused me that some human (customer service, not everyone surely but the not is the exception) behave like a machine does ???

      • Incident with my credit card company (kept requesting them to change some info in my billing address but to no avail) and an airline company (cancelled my nephew’s roundtrip ticket which has been paid for coz he was not able to board the flight from Manila and apparently that is enough reason he cannot use the return ticket as well – that term was not anywhere indicated in the ticket). Made me think that prolly Siri can give better service ???

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