Microsoft to allow third party devices and apps to integrate Cortana

Microsoft is opening up Cortana to third party device makers and developers with a Cortana Skills kit and Cortana Devices SDK.

Cortana’s Skills Kit will let developers build apps that are able to use voice commands via Cortana to enable features. The Devices SDK allows third party hardware makers build devices with Cortana on board.

Currently the Skills Kit preview is available for a few partners privately such as Expedia, TalkLocal, and Capitol One. Microsoft is working wit Harman Kardon on a new device with Cortana integration, which looks a lot like the Amazon Echo.

Some things to expect at Apples WWDC Conference

Apples biggest conference, WWDC, or Worldwide Developers Conference, is almost here, just next month!

It’ll be the 27th WWDC, it starts on June 13th, very ominous, and ends on June 17th, and will be hosted in San Francisco’s Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. But what can we expect from Apples biggest conference? Lets take a look at all the rumors and predictions.

Apple Music

We can expect to see something for Apple Music, its music service that was launched in 2015. The service did not meet Apples expectations or ours. Apple reportedly has an estimated 13 million subscribers but even then the service can’t compete with Spotify, which has an estimated 30 million subscribers and recently modified its family plan to match Apples. And while the service did grow there were reports and complaints about its user interface and integration issues.

So we might see an upgrade to the service such as new artists, new functionality and features, better and improved user interface, better streaming, and an expansion in its radio service. If Apple wants to get into the top it’ll also have to make a better royalty fee policy. 

OS X

This year’s OS X will definitely be showcased at the conference, as Apple recently came out with beta updates for developers. The new beta of OS X El Capitan  includes an update for tvOS and iOS 9.3.3. We might also see an integration of Siri for Mac, much like Cortana on Windows 10. MaRumours recently reported on a possible  Mac dock icon and menu bar icon for Siri. If you want to jump into the beta you download it from the Apple Developer Center, but be careful it’ll be riddled with bugs so use a backup device just to be sure.

iOS 10

ioS 10 will most likely also make an appearance, it’s pretty much expected. We might see user interface changes, performance improvements, new features, and new apps in the App Store. We’ve seen new iOS released at past WWDC conferences so it might follow suit.

Macs!

WWDC is mostly oriented at software although we have seen hardware showcased at the conference. So don’t be surprised if you see a new Mac. There have been many rumors about the possibility of a new MacBook Pro this year.

Apple Watch

The Apple Watch was released in April of 2015, so we demand to see another release. Well hopefully we’ll see something new. It has tough competition with the Samsung Gear S2, especially now that the company is in the works to introduce iPhone compatibility. There’s also the much coveted Sony Smartwatch 3, Asus ZenWatch 2, Moto 360 2, Huawei Watch, even Garmin and Pebble have smart watches. There are a lot of second generation and 3rd generation smart watches. If Apple wants to compete it’ll have to come out with a new watch that’ll outshine the rest.

WWDC will be a conference to see all kinds of new things from Apple. The conference will be held on June 13 – June 17 and you stream the event live on their WWDC App or at the website.

IBMs AI Ross has been hired at a top law firm

A law firm, Baker & Hostetler, has done something risky yet ground breaking, the law firm has hired IBM’s AI Ross, the first artificially intelligent lawyer.

Ross was created by IBM and was built on the popular Watson. Ross is able to read and understand language, create hypotheses when asked questions, do research, and give back responses with references. Ross also learns from experience, can increase response speeds and the more it is interacted with the more knowledge it gains, something that’s becoming very common in modern day AIs.

The website Rossintelligence.com says, “You ask your questions in plain English, as you would a colleague, and ROSS then reads through the entire body of law and returns a cited answer and topical readings from legislation, case law and secondary sources to get you up-to-speed quickly.”

Baker & Hostetler is one of the biggest law firms in the country and have hired Ross to work on bankruptcy cases. Ross will work as a legal researcher, being able to dig through thousands of legal documents. So while Ross may not be present at court or make legal decisions, the AI will be able to cut the time it takes humans to shift through legal documents.

In addition to Baker & Hostetler there are other firms that are seeking to hire Ross. There are others like Ross out there such as Legal by Lex Machina, which mines public court documents to predict how a judge will rule in particular cases; another is CaseText, which digs through thousands of state and federal legal cases to provide data. There is a trend in creating AI that can help dig through, analyze, and provide relevant information faster than humans can.

This push in AI is already making its way to various markets, not just in tech, therefore its likely that we’ll see a shift in jobs. Take Ross for example, Ross does a faster and one can say will do a better job at analyzing and shifting through legal documents, a job that is often given to recent graduates, which for many can be a stepping stone to better opportunities. While AIs can be very beneficial we are starting to see a shift in job placements, the only problem is that its happening too fast.

 

Goodbye Siri, Welcome Viv.

Dag Kittlaus and Adam Cheyer the creators of Siri, Apple’s digital assistant, have created the next generation artificial intelligence (AI) assistant called Viv.

Kittlaus and Cheyer have been developing this AI for the last four years and today, May 9th 2016, they debuted Viv for everyone to see. Viv functions differently by connecting to various services, at Disrupt NYC the AI handled multiple complex requests by connecting with third-party merchants to buy goods and even book reservations for its user. Viv will also be capable of learning and teach itself, allowing for more personalization and growth through more usage.

Viv is considered the next gen Siri though Viv looks and behaves entirely different. With Siri you had queries sent off to a search engine to display results and requests, and could only handle a small number of tasks. Viv behaves more like Amazon’s Alexa by connecting to different platforms, devices, and services. Viv is in an essence more social than Siri, it also handles natural language comprehension better than Siri.

Currently Facebook and Microsoft have their own AI that handle multiple complex requests and can connect to third party services. Microsoft recently announced their bot engine and showed Cortana connecting with different apps and Facebook has their open platform that allows developers to build bots for Messenger. Though Viv feels more like Hound. Hound is more of a underground AI that hasn’t taken off with general consumers. It has an incredible ability to understand natural language and boasts its dominance through speedy results.

Viv’s creators also showed “Dynamic Program Generation,” which shows the codes used by Viv after a verbal request and giving a view into how it understands and handles requests.

Viv and other AI like it could change the way we interact with services. In the future you may no longer be required to call or look online to purchase good or services, you could just tell your AI what you want and it could do it for you. Ordering food, booking flights, rooms, or renting cars may all be done through AI assistants.

Soon OLED displays will replace LED displays for your smartphones.

OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) display has more superior quality than traditional Liquid Crystal Displays because it’s not created only from glass substrates but also on bendable plastic materials, which makes it also useful for the other applications. One of the more interesting uses is that these new displays can be folded or rolled, without the display being damaged. They are also lighter and thinner than LCD displays offering better quality.

Japan Display, in a joint venture among Sony, Toshiba and Hitachi, is all set to begin mass production of OLED displays for the next two years.

There is also a rumor that in future Apple will launch an iPhone with OLED displays made by Samsung, which already makes AMOLED (active-matrix organic light-emitting diode).

But the main constraint for the OLED display is that it’s more expensive so the likely hood of having cheap displays for smart phones in the next few years doesn’t seem high. Though when smart phones do come with OLED screens they’ll definitely be of better quality.