Paving the way for fluid communication
I think we all know what happened with the ill-fated Tay the Chatbot experiment spearheaded by Microsoft. In retrospect, Tay was a dressed up mechanical parrot that lent itself to processing and repeating the information it was fed. It literally only took a few minutes before Tay turned into a foul-mouthed storm trooper, issues commands and dogma that were as much a surprise to the bot’s programmers as it was to the online community following Tay’s progress.
The playing field for linguistic software isn’t singular. Microsoft isn’t the only athlete coming out of the block, only the most well-known in the public’s eye.
Arria NLG to name one, offers a sophisticated software tool that combines cutting-edge techniques in data analytics and computational linguistics. These capabilities allow the engine to convert large and diverse datasets into meaningful natural language narratives, helping solve the problems of dealing with Big Data.
In short, Arria has made the process of converting data into narrative easy. We have built an AI that does what your human, natural intelligence does.
The dawn of natural language
Natural Language Generation is all about taking data and turning it into written or spoken language. This is indisputably the best way to provide actionable analytics. It’s how we as a species have communicated information and calls-to-action for tens of thousands of years. It’s a finely honed device that evolves as we evolve, and it marks us out from other species. It’s the best means by which we answer the requests “Tell me what I need to know” and “Tell me what I should do”.
Matt Gould, CSO & Co-Founder of Arria NLG feels the resulting problem with Tay could have been prevented with different technology.
“Right now we’re still playing question and answer with chatbots. But there’s still another level until the Internet can communicate with you naturally, until it can come back with a more general inference about the intent behind your question, and NLG is the solution that embodies the required expertise. To understand, conversely, is to be able to infer something from information received– analyzing and extracting insights from diverse data sets.”
Giving the internet a voice
Gould sees Natural Language Progression as a logical step in the progression of the bot marketplace. Comments Gould,
“The issue with today’s bots is their very limited areas of knowledge – these bots must fall back on search engines for anything outside of their narrow capabilities. The Internet is incredibly smart, but bots today are technologically equivalent to a two year-old just learning to speak for the first time. But bots can evolve with Natural Language Generation (NLG) technology.”
Gould feels that current NLG technologies can enable someone to have a free-flowing conversation with a bot, but none of the big tech companies have picked up on the intricacies involved. Not yet anyway.
NLG, explains Gould, “Combines state-of-the-art data science and analytics with cutting-edge computational linguistics techniques, delivering information that is hidden within data and conveying it through natural language.”
In other words, NLG gives the internet a voice without making it sound like a robot.
It provides an automated solution that can take diverse data sources, aggregate their information content, and deliver that content in a way that is immediately accessible. As a result of advancements in NLG, bots in the marketplace will become more sophisticated, useful, and friendly.
The IoT of bots
In the still evolving Internet of Things (IoT), will robots play a role? How do you best integrate AI with the IoD? As more and more of our everyday responsibilities are parceled out to smart technology, it’s not a stretch to see a robotic helper taking the lead: Doing our shopping, preparing dinner or even taking us to work in the morning.
To that end, Gould feels that all of the data gathered by every sensor in the world isn’t worth much if there’s a way of making use of it. Explains Gould,
“The real value that the Internet of Things brings is at the intersection of gathering data and leveraging it. We need to analyze that data, often in real time, if we are to extract its value, so we need an infrastructure for IoT data analysis.
…Bots might play a role in this infrastructure if their UX appeals to users and it can become a more effective way to interact than through a traditional user interface.”
The bottom line: No matter how sophisticated the analysis is of all that data, effective communication is the next major problem to be solved. The Internet of Things needs a voice. NLG can enable bots to provide an automated solution that can take those diverse data sources, aggregate their information content, and deliver that content in a way that is immediately accessible and makes sense.
Microsoft acquires powerful AI language processor GPT-3, to what end?
(TECH NEWS) This powerful AI language processor sounds surprisingly human, and Microsoft has acquired rights to the code. How much should we worry?
The newly-released GPT-3 is the most insane language model in the NLP (natural language processor) field of machine learning. Developed by OpenAI, GPT-3 can generate strikingly human-like text for a vast range of purposes like bots and advertising, to poetry and creative writing.
While GPT-3 is accessible to everyone, OpenAI has expressed concerns over using this AI tech for insidious purposes. For this reason, Microsoft’s new exclusive license on the GPT-3 language model may be a tad worrisome.
First of all, for those unfamiliar with the NPL field, software engineer, and Youtuber, Aaron Jack, provides a detailed overview of GPT-3’s capabilities and why everyone should be paying attention.
Microsoft’s deal with OpenAI should come as little surprise since OpenAI uses the Azure cloud platform to access enough information to train their models.
Microsoft chief technology officer Kevin Scott announced the deal on the company blog this week: “We see this as an incredible opportunity to expand our Azure-powered AI platform in a way that democratizes AI technology, enables new products, services and experiences, and increases the positive impact of AI at Scale,” said Scott.
“Our mission at Microsoft is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more, so we want to make sure that this AI platform is available to everyone – researchers, entrepreneurs, hobbyists, businesses – to empower their ambitions to create something new and interesting.”
OpenAI has assured that Microsoft’s exclusive license does not affect the general public’s access to the GPT-3 model. The difference is Microsoft will be able to use the source code to combine with their products.
While OpenAI needs Azure to train these models, handing over the source code to another party is, to put it mildly, tricky. With the earlier GPT-2 model, OpenAI initially refused publishing the research out of fear it could be used to generate fake news and propaganda.
Though the company found there was no evidence to suggest the GPT-2 was utilized this way and later released the information, handing the key of the exponentially more powerful iteration to one company will undoubtedly hold ramifications in the tech world.
What is UI/UX? Take a little time to learn for free!
(TECH NEWS) For the all-time low price of—well, free—Invise gives you the option of learning a few basic UI and UX design techniques.
There’s no denying the strong impact UI and UX design has on the success of a website, app, or service—and, thanks to some timely altruism, you can add basic design understanding to your résumé for free.
Invise is a self-described beginner’s guide to the UI/UX field, and while they do not purport to deliver expert knowledge or “paid courses”, the introduction overview alone is pretty hefty.
The best part—aside from the “free” aspect—is how simple it is to get a copy of the guide: You enter your email address on the Invise website, click the appropriate button, and the guide is yours after a quick email verification.
According to Invise, their beginner’s guide to UI and UX covers everything from color theory and typography to layout, research principles, and prototyping. They even include a segment on tools and resources to use for optimal UI/UX work so that you don’t have to take any risks on dicey software.
UI—short for “user interface”—and UX, or “user experience”, are two critical design aspects found in everything from websites to app and video game menus. As anyone who has ever picked up an outdated smartphone knows, a janky presentation of options or—worse yet—a lack of intuitive menus can break a user’s experience far faster than slow hardware.
Similarly, if you’re looking to retain customers who visit your website or blog, presenting their options to them in a jarring or unfamiliar way—or selecting colors that clash for your landing page—can be just as fatal as not having a website to begin with.
The overarching problem, then, becomes one of cost. Hiring a design expert is expensive and can be time-consuming, so Invise is a welcome alternative—and, as a bonus, you don’t have to dictate your company’s vision to a stranger and hope that they “get it” if you’re doing your own design work.
2020 probably isn’t the year to break the bank on design choices, but the importance of UI and UX in your business can’t be overstated. If you have time to read up on some design basics and a small budget for a few of the bare-bones tools, you can take a relatively educated shot at putting together a modern, desirable interface.
Google set to release new AI-operated meeting room kit… and it’s pretty baller
(TECH NEWS) Google’s newest toy is designed to “put people first” by alleviating video and audio issues for conference room meetings.
Remote meetings can be the worst sometimes. The awful video and audio quality are frustrating when you’re trying to hear important details for an upcoming project. Even with the fastest internet connection, this doesn’t guarantee you’ll be able to clearly hear or see anyone who’s in the office. But Google is re-imagining conference rooms with their new video conferencing hardware.
Yesterday, the company introduced Google Meet Series One. In partnership with Lenovo, this meeting room kit is made exclusively for Google Meet and is poised to be the hardware that “puts people first.”
The Series One has several components that make it stand out. First is the “Smart Audio Bar,” powered by eight beam-forming microphones. Using Google Edge TPUs, the soundbar can deliver TrueVoice®, the company’s “proprietary, multi-channel noise cancellation technology.” It removes distracting sounds, like annoying finger and foot-tapping noises, so everyone’s voices are crystal clear from anywhere in the room.
The hardware also has 4K smart cameras that allow for high-resolution video and digital PTZ (pan, tilt, zoom) effects. Processed with Google AI, the device knows to automatically zoom in and out so all of the meetings’ participants are framed in the camera. With an i7 processor and Google Edge TPUs, the system is built to “handle the taxing demands of video conferencing along with running the latest in Google AI as efficiently and reliably as possible.”
The meeting kit has Google grade security built-in, so the system automatically updates over-the-air. The system also works seamlessly with Google services and apps we already use. Its touch control display is powered by a single ethernet cable. From the admin controls, you can manage meeting lists and control room settings. Powered by assistant voice commands, their touch controller provides a “touchless touchability”; if you want to, you can join a meeting just by saying, “Hey Google, join the meeting.”
These new meeting kits are easy to install and are versatile. They can be configured to fit small, medium, and large-sized rooms. “Expanding kits for larger rooms can be done with just an ethernet cable and the tappable Mic Pod, which expands microphone reach and allows for mute/unmute control.”
According to the Google Meet Series One introductory video, the meeting room kits are “beautifully and thoughtfully designed to make video meetings approachable and immersive so everyone gets a seat at the table.”
Currently, there is no release date set for Google Meet Series One. However, pre-orders will soon be available in the US, Canada, Finland, France, Norway, Spain, Ireland, United Kingdom, Sweden, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Netherlands, Denmark, and Belgium.
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