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Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Alibaba has a Better Intelligent Assistant than Google's

In particular the claim that it is more conversationally powerful is interesting.  Such advances could lead to deeper interaction with humans and further engagement.

Alibaba already has a voice assistant way better than Google’s
It navigates interruptions and other tricky features of human conversation to field millions of requests a day   by Karen Hao  in Technology Review excerpt: 

In May, Google made quite the splash when it unveiled Duplex, its eerily humanlike voice assistant capable of making restaurant reservations and salon appointments. It seemed to mark a new milestone in speech generation and natural-language understanding, and it pulled back the curtain on what the future of human-AI interaction might look like.  Still only in Chinese. 

But while Google slowly rolls out the feature in a limited public launch, Alibaba’s own voice assistant has already been clocking overtime. On December 2 at the 2018 Neural Information Processing Systems conference, one of the largest annual gatherings for AI research, Alibaba demoed the AI customer service agent for its logistics company Cainiao. Jin Rong, the dean of Alibaba’s Machine Intelligence and Technology Lab, said the agent was already servicing millions of customer requests a day.

The demo call involved the agent asking a customer where he wanted his package delivered. In the back-and-forth exchange, the agent successfully navigated several conversational elements that demonstrated the breadth of its natural-language capabilities.

Take this exchange at the beginning of the call, translated from Mandarin: ... "

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