The week in Voicetech. February 9, 2018

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Ingrid Fadelli

AIs that diagnose psychiatric disorders, new Alexa capabilities, and voice assistants officially entering the healthcare sector. This and more in our voicetech news roundup

Our carefully curated selection of articles from this week on CliqueApi and other respected news sources from around the world.

Computational Psychiatry. IBM’s new AI is being deployed to diagnose psychosis, Clique

A team of IBM researchers and university academics has developed an artificial intelligence (AI) tool that could help to diagnose certain mental disorders. The AI was trained to identify particular speech patterns associated with psychosis, a distressing mental disorder that causes individuals to lose contact with reality. Initial results seem promising, but how much faith is it wise to place in the emerging field of computational psychiatry?

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A new technology is tackling the problem of VR motion sickness, Clique

MonkeyMedia, an Austin-based tech company, has developed a tool that allows users to navigate Virtual Reality (VR) environments more naturally, reducing the chances of getting motion sickness. As its name would suggest, BodyNav is a new system that lets users navigate VR environments using their natural body movements, for instance leaning their heads forward or sideways to move in different directions.

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DeepMind’s AI eye disease diagnosis edges closer to market, Clique

Google DeepMind’s collaboration with Moorfields Eye Hospital, in London, has finally achieved promising results for the computational diagnosis of severe eye diseases. The team of researchers has trained a machine learning algorithm on thousands of retinal scans, so that it may recognize early signs of glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and grey spot diseases. The results have now been submitted to a medical journal and the AI tool could be entering medical trials within a few years’ time.

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You can now build Amazon Music playlists using voice commands on Alexa devices, The Verge

Amazon Music listeners will now be able to build their own playlists via voice commands spoken to Alexa. For example, when listening to a song they like on the radio or from an app, they can ask Alexa to add it to one of their existing playlists, or start an entirely new playlist from scratch. Other competing services such as Spotify and Apple Music did not enable this function yet, but it should now be working for Amazon Music on any Alexa-powered device.

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‘Hey Mercedes’- Daimler takes on Silicon Valley with hi-tech A-Class, Reuters

Automotive giant Daimler’s released its new Mercedes A-Class, which features its very own machine-learning and voice recognition tech. The new Mercedes MBUX dashboard system can understand and respond to users’ voice commands, similarly to Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant. The new A-Class comes with an updated look, engines, interiors, and semi-autonomous driving features, but the new voice recognition system stands out as the most innovative feature.

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Finally, an AI voice assistant that doesn’t collect and monetize your data, Digital Trends

Mycroft, a new smart speaker that recently landed on Kickstarter, shares many similarities with Amazon Echo and Google Home, but it is said to be built with its users’ privacy in mind. The speaker’s creator, Joshua Montgomery, says that he wished to develop an open source alternative to tech giants’ voice assistants, which provides the best possible experience without collecting, controlling, and monetizing users’ information.

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AI voice assistants have officially arrived in healthcare, Healthcare IT News

Some among the millions of smart speakers sold in 2017 have found their way into hospitals in Boston, New York City, and Los Angeles. John Halamka, CIO at Beth Israel hospital Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, explains that his team is using Amazon Alexa to assist patients in completing various tasks. For instance, the team has built skills that allow patients to ask information such as ‘Where is my doctor?’ or ‘What is for lunch?’, to call the nurse, order a meal, or dial other hospital extensions.

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No, you don’t need a voice-controlled printer in your life, The Verge

As we enter the era of ‘voice-enabled pretty much anything’, HP is bringing support for voice assistants into its new line of printers. In other words, users should soon be able to ask Alexa, Google Assistant, and Microsoft Cortana to print documents accessed via their devices. HP believes that, in future, all printers will have integrated voice assistants; but The Verge wonders about the actual usefulness of this print-via-voice technology.

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Novel voice recognition technology completes Interpol’s legal arsenal, CORDIS EU

The EU-funded Speaker Identification Integrated Project (SIIP) is a quest to develop a new identification system that could assist law enforcement agencies in identifying criminals by analyzing their voice. SIIP merges multiple speech recognition algorithms, reaching highly reliable voice detection rates. Combined with Interpol’s large database of voice recordings, the technology has already achieved outstanding results.

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LogMeIn is buying Jive Communications for up to $357M to step up in enterprise unified comms, TechCrunch

LogMeIn, a company that offers conferencing services GoToMeeting and, as well as other online services, announced its plans to acquire Jive Communications for $342 million in cash, plus up to $15 million should they meet specific milestones in the next two years. LogMeIn hopes that Jive Communications, a Utah-based startup that provides voice and video calling services, will help the company to achieve more comprehensive Unified Communications (UCC) offerings.

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