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Saturday, April 14, 2018

Russia Has a Chat Assistant: Alice

 A global trend. More conversational? Yandex mentioned here previously. Russian language.

Alice In Putin’s Wonderland: How Russia’s AI Assistant Compares To Siri And Alexa
The assistant, launched by a company, with ties to the Kremlin, is exploding in growth and is not encumbered by any privacy or regulatory concerns.    By Daria Solovieva in Fastcompany

As artificial intelligence technology gets smarter and smarter, our concerns about user privacy keep growing. We’re asking why Amazon’s Alexa is laughing at users, whether Alexa can testify against you in court, and how Apple’s Siri can read your hidden messages out loud to other users. And Facebook’s privacy issues are getting so bad, the company has put its own plans for a smart speaker on hold.

But there is an AI assistant that shows no signs of slowing down and is not encumbered by any privacy or regulatory concerns. Launched in Moscow less than six months ago, Alice now has millions of daily users and “tens of millions daily interactions” according to Mikhail Bilenko, head of Machine Intelligence and Research at Yandex, Russia’s tech giant that runs the country’s dominant search engine and ride-hailing service.

Yandex launched Alice in October 2017, touting its first AI assistant as more conversational than its English-language competitors. Alice developers relied on the voice of a Russian actress who also provided the voiceover for Scarlett Johansson’s AI character in the Spike Jonze film Her. The AI assistant can be used by any Russian speaker anywhere on the planet.

“When it comes to non-informational chitchat, none of them (AI assistants) do it currently, there are a few pre-edited responses to certain questions, but that’s it,” Bilenko says in an interview with Fast Company. “Alice has a lot of directional, informational functions like the weather and currency (inquiries), but it also allows you just to chat about how your day was. The topic can be anything.” ... "  

Short, somewhat dated piece on Yandex.

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