Screen grab from HBO’s WestWorld.

Thinking back to how I thought a few years ago, one question that I constantly thought about was whether we’d pass a Touring Test for speech synthesis. Now, I’m not sure if that matters for most applications. I know that Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant are not real people. In fact, the more they try to convince me that they are, the more I’m turned off.

There voice does not represent a person. It’s a way of way of presenting information to me aurally. …

A critique of What’s New

Screen grab of a recent Simpsons episode featuring Alexa.

Re-reading the past ten “Keep up with Alexa” newsletters was an interesting exercise. It revealed that those newsletters don’t really talk about what’s new but try to highlight interesting applications of Alexa. Jeopardy was mentioned multiple times. The Tonight Show got a few mentions. It wasn’t so much about new capabilities as it was about cool ones.

So what is new about Alexa?

A few things jumped out such as playing a bedtime timer with a light, having a playlist play everywhere, or voice access to new services like Hulu. We’re in the long tail of capabilities. …

Can CanCan Can-Can?

(Will CanCan be able to dance)?

Very interested to see how this plays out because it mean using blockchain for every small interaction or sharing of information. Specifically, videos can be signed onto to a blockchain on creation, along with every edit, so that you can see who actually created what and when., or even what snippets they sampled.

Keep posting on this!

It's such a relief that the pandemic hasn't put an end to craziness.

Thanks for posting this - I look forward to the article every month. Often times, it's fun to just to hear the crazy news. But then I remember that I pitched for funding and wasn't as successful as many of the startups that are mentioned here. Then I'm sad.

Looking forward to the next post!

Guessed it by the headline...

Thanks for helping educate about this interesting fact.

The response about "ridiculousness" is not surprising either. Having kept Shabbat for many years, we'd check our local eruv and see whether it was still in tact and may a determination on carrying objects.

There are some groups within Orthodox Judaism that don't accept an eruv at all or have different customs. For example, there are arguments among scholars about whether gloves can be worn on Shabbat in the winter, lest one remove a glove to shake a fellows hand, in which case he'd be carrying it.

Left of Way...

I'm curious how many other scams like this are in play. This is where we might start needing some type of AI assistant built into email services to advise when something like this shows up.

We are gong to encounter more and smarter types of scams over the next decade that we are ill prepared to handle. As speech synthesis and natural language generation take over, we'll need to be even more vigilant against these threats.

"Get ready for a surprise!"

I'm wondering if some things just aren't meant for 4K. The greys and reds of a dulled out Mars seem like they shouldn't be displayed on a 4K.

There's this weird effect that I can't place my finger on with new displays and movies. 4K60FPS ends up making a movie look like it was shot for TV with low budget stunts. Interpolation?

Total Recalls needs to be seen with some grittiness, like a worn out VHS cassette.

"Hi, my name is Werner Brandes. My voice is my passport. Verify Me."

I LOVED the movie Sneakers as a kid and it had a huge influence on me. Long before Stephen Tobolowsky was playing the Hooli and Pied Piper CEO and holding business meetings in front of mating horses, his Werner character was the quintessential 90s Dilbert-style engineer.

Liveness testing would be one way to prevent the voice recognition service from being foiled so easily.

The premise of this movie is solid and even more relevant today. With quantum computing having the potential to destroy even the strongest encryption, it could mean that all secrets will be revealable.

The Desktop Analogy is dead. What really replaces it?

Do we take the derivative and get the laptop analogy? A cloud?

There is likely a way to have some quick wins around re-organizing how we do things today - just much smaller:

What if tabs disappeared into bookmarks if we didn't use them? What if they were sorted by most accessed, or intelligently placed adjacent to others that were similar?

Could websites become programs? Could our "desktop" actually re-arrange itself into windows we use more often and sized according to how we gaze?

An adaptive UX could be much more…

Leor Grebler

Independent daily thoughts on all things future, voice technologies and AI. More at

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