Microsoft Outsourced Skype, Cortana Voice Analysis to China With Virtually No Security in Place: Report

Microsoft had “no security measures” on a programme that had humans transcribe user voice recordings from its Skype video calling service and Cortana assistant, the Guardian reported on Friday, even when those workers were located in China. Read More >>

Your Xbox is Listening to You, and So Are Microsoft’s Contractors

Microsoft Xbox owners will bummed to learn that humans have been listening to some of their voice commands. Motherboard recently spoke to a number of Microsoft contractors who said they’d been hired by the company to review Xbox and Cortana voice commands to improve the technology. This is the same sort of thing that’s been happening with all kinds of voice assistants lately, but that doesn’t make it any less unsettling. Read More >>

Amazon’s Human Helpers Are Quietly Listening in on Some Alexa Recordings

There’s been a number of incidents where Amazon’s Alexa digital assistant has done things like misinterpret something it overheard and started sending random people recordings of private conversations, or audio files kept by the company wound up in the wrong hands. But a real-life stranger could potentially be listening to anything you tell Alexa by design, per a report in Bloomberg on Wednesday. Read More >>

Microsoft’s New Speech Recognition Reaches ‘Human Parity’

Researchers at Microsoft have revealed details about their new speech recognition system, promising that its able to transcribe conversational speech as well as a proper human being. Read More >>

Barclays to Drop Telephone Banking Passwords for Voice Recognition This Week

In a move designed to make telephone banking both slicker and more secure, Barclays is to start replacing passwords with voice recognition technology for customers this week. Read More >>

How to Teach Siri Better Pronunciation

Siri making a meal of your boyfriend’s name? Or is it just not getting the right amount of twang in when trying to say the name of the local cab firm? If you think Siri’s pronunciation skills leave something to be desired then you can retrain the app yourself in just a few minutes—here’s how to go about it. Read More >>

Intel Could Be Bringing Always-On Voice Assistants to Laptops

Always-on digital assistants like “Hey Siri” and “OK Google” add an important layer of simplicity, but thus far they’ve not made it to laptops, mostly due to battery reasons. A new Intel partnership with Sensory is hoping to solve that. Read More >>

Google’s Voice Search is Getting Far, Far Better

Google released its first neural network-powered voice recognition system in 2011 and it’s been slowly improving ever since. But now, it’s announced that the addition of recurrent neural networks will make the tech much faster — and much more accurate. Read More >>

windows 10
Yes, You Can Use Cortana in Windows 10 With Any Old Microphone

One of the coolest new Windows 10 features is talking to your computer. For many people, it’ll be the first time they’ve had a voice-activated personal assistant on tap. And yet, most computers won’t have Cortana turned on by default—allegedly because they don’t have certified high-quality microphones built-in. Read More >>

Why the Talking “Smart” Barbie Terrifies Privacy Advocates

Some child advocates are clamoring for Mattel to halt production of a new "smart" Barbie that can have conversations with your kid. The Barbie's powered by voice-recognition artificial-intelligence that's becoming increasingly prevalent in our everyday gadgets, but that doesn't mean it doesn't freak people out. Especially when kids are involved. Read More >>

Amazon’s Echo Might Be its Most Important Product in Years

It's pretty rare that a new product truly surprises us. But today Amazon did just that, introducing Echo, a talking, listening piece of electronic furniture. It's like having the internet on your kitchen table, cracking jokes and settling bets, and it's the most innovative device Amazon's made in years. Read More >>

Windows Phone 8.1’s Cortana is Google Now Plus Siri

Today at the Build Developer Conference, Microsoft is showing off the newest version of its phone OS, Windows Phone 8.1. And now, Windows Phone finally has a notification centre, and its own personal assistant: Cortana. Read More >>

Apple Just Patented a System That Could Put Siri in Charge of Your Home

While we were all focused on sensors that fit on our wrists, Apple was quietly winning 38 patents for a system of sensors as big as a house. Read More >>

The PS4 Will Have Voice and Facial Recognition too

Continuing the "everything you can do, I can do better" war, Sony's confirmed that the PS4 will be able to mimic the Xbox One with both facial and voice recognition, so you'll be able to scream at your PlayStation too. Read More >>