A New Kind of Creepy

A decade ago I co-authored a paper about customization of IVRs, and we discussed how too much can be creepy. My, how times have changed. We now expect every system we interact with to know who we are and what our history with that system or company is. It’s not that we want them to know everything, but we want them to know all the stuff that makes our lives easier.

Talking The Talk

Your Google Assistant can now talk like John Legend, thanks to WaveNet speech synthesis. Charming and a nice proof point for WaveNet’s unique approach, although PinDrop’s software spotted it as a fake. Researchers have been playing with speech synthesis for over a century, believe it or not. Check out the Bell Labs Voder in 1939, …

People Expect Conversations

Here’s a good read about voice technology from the Engineering VP for Google Assistant. Key point: people expect conversations. Which is why understanding people’s goals for a conversation is a critical part of conversational design. Quoting Scott Huffman: When people start using voice assistants, we often see very simple commands. But very quickly, expectations go …