Facebook Admits It Scans Your Conversations on Messenger

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Facebook’s automated systems scan the photos and links you send or receive via Messenger, the social media giant confirmed this week. The company confirmed the practice to Bloomberg on Thursday, after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg hinted at the policy in a separate interview this week. To be clear, Facebook says Messenger conversations are still private, but it […]
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Microsoft AI knows when to (politely) interrupt conversations

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Most AI assistants can't really hold a conversation. They're fine with I-go-you-go dialogue, but most humans aren't quite so timid — they know when to interrupt, and when to restart chat when there's an awkward pause. Microsoft wants to fix that. It…
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How to stop Facebook eavesdropping on your conversations

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Who knows whether or not Facebook is listening in on your private conversations? Not us. But if you want to make sure it can’t eavesdrop via your iPhone’s microphone, there’s a setting for that.

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)

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A New AI-Powered App Transcribes Your Conversations in Real-Time

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Transcription on the Go

If you have to deal with transcribing interviews as part of your daily work (like we do), you’ll find a welcome partner in the new Otter app. Developed by former employees from Google and a speech-recognition veteran Nuance, Otter is a free service that transcribes speech on the go through the power of artificial intelligence (AI).

Voice transcription services aren’t new. There are a number of apps available out there, sure, but none seem to work like Otter — and we’re not even talking about the AI aspect yet. Most voice-transcription apps that are free aren’t very accurate, and those that work really well are often too expensive. Additionally, none transcribe in “real-time” as Otter does.

The 5 Weirdest AI Applications [INFOGRAPHICS]
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AISense, the startup that developed Otter, saw an opportunity here. There was a market ready for Otter to penetrate, as it proved during its launch at the Mobile World Congress this past week. “This is a perfect time,” AISense CEO and founder Sam Liang told CNet.

This app not only has market trends working in its favor, but it also benefited from a ton of work that has been done recently on voice and AI. There are speech recognition algorithms, which most of us are familiar with because of virtual assistants trained to “talk” to us — Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, and Google’s creatively named Assistant. In fact, Amazon is supposedly close to developing another “real-time speech translation” service using Alexa.

On top of this, promising algorithms have been built to produce synthetic speech. Google’s DeepMind proved it can already mimic human speech with astonishing accuracy and clarity.

Voiceprints

All of these developments made it possible to design the Otter app, Liang explained. “With AI tech and deep learning in the last few years, the accuracy for speech recognition has improved dramatically. A few years ago, this system wouldn’t be usable,” he told Cnet.

Otter has a rather simple but intuitive approach to voice transcriptions. As soon as you install the app, available for free for both Android and Apple users, it asks you to do a short and long recording — which you start by pressing the app’s mic icon. These become the basis for your “voiceprint” so that Otter can identify you in the recordings you make.

Otter saves your voice and tags your transcriptions.

Why does it need to identify you? Well, because Otter’s live transcriptions are ideally separated by each speaker. Also, the raw transcript of a live conversation you’re recording appears almost immediately in front of you. Otter’s AI also automatically puts tags in every recording and transcription you save for easier file management.

Of course, it isn’t flawless. Otter has certain issues with punctuation, which it tends to leave out, and has difficulty working in crowded places or with loud noise in the background. Plus, you can’t transfer audio recordings not done directly using the app.

Still, for those who do interviews, take copious notes during classes or meetings, or would simply like a hands-free way to record their thoughts as text, an app like Otter could make life much easier. After all, who transcribes speech for the fun of it?

Better try it out while it’s still free, though. AISense plans to implement a subscription model to access extra features later on.

The post A New AI-Powered App Transcribes Your Conversations in Real-Time appeared first on Futurism.

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How to stop notifications for specific SMS or iMessage conversations

Hide alerts for messages

We’ve all been part of a group conversation involving multiple people actively messaging each other, making our phones buzz every few minutes with every new message. Depending on the situation, it can be incredibly fun and entertaining, or quite disturbing, especially if you’re trying to ficus on a specific task…. Read the rest of this post here


How to stop notifications for specific SMS or iMessage conversations” is an article by iDownloadBlog.com.
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Skype adds Private Conversations with end-to-end encryption

Skype is the latest messaging service to jump onto the end-to-end encryption bandwagon. The Microsoft-owned service has partnered up with Signal in order to enable the new functionality, which is optional and not default for every chat. Thus, Skype’s implementation is similar to what Facebook Messenger uses, which has dedicated Secret Conversations you can set up for this purpose. Skype’s version is called Private Conversations, and these aren’t supported for groups. To start a Private Conversation, you tap or click the “+” icon, then select the self-descriptive New Private Conversation…

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Allo v25 enables automatic transcriptions for audio messages, may hint at threaded conversations [APK Teardown]

A new version of Allo is rolling out just in time for the holidays. If you’re thinking about singing Christmas carols or wishing somebody a happy new year, things are going to get a little more interesting thanks to the latest update. Your audio messages will now be automatically transcribed to text, so people can decide when to listen and have some idea of what they’re going to be hearing. There’s also a clue that may suggest threaded conversations will be supported.

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Allo v25 enables automatic transcriptions for audio messages, may hint at threaded conversations [APK Teardown] was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Apple’s New Counselor Will Teach Siri How to Have “Serious Conversations”

Guidance from Siri

Apple is on the hunt for a Siri software engineer with a background in counseling or psychology, according to a job listing spotted by CNBC’s Christina Farr.

The job listing gives a rare insight into how people use Apple’s voice assistant and how Apple wants to improve it. Interestingly, people are turning to Siri in emergencies or “when they want guidance on living a healthier life.”

Image Credit: Reuters/Suzanne Plunkett

Candidates must also have a computer science degree or equivalent, while experience with artificial intelligence (AI) technologies like natural language processing and machine learning is also desirable.

Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, and other technology companies are all battling it out to hire the best and brightest people in the field of AI, with salaries often running into six figures.

Taking Siri to the Next Level

Describing the “Siri Software Engineer, Health and Wellness” role, which is based in Santa Clara Valley, Apple writes:

“People have serious conversations with Siri. People talk to Siri about all kinds of things, including when they’re having a stressful day or have something serious on their mind. They turn to Siri in emergencies or when they want guidance on living a healthier life. Does improving Siri in these areas pique your interest? Come work as part of the Siri Domains team and make a difference.

Comparing the Best AI Assistants on the Market
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“We are looking for people passionate about the power of data and have the skills to transform data to intelligent sources that will take Siri to next level. Someone with a combination of strong programming skills and a true team player who can collaborate with engineers in several technical areas. You will thrive in a fast-paced environment with rapidly changing priorities.”

Apple did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.

The post Apple’s New Counselor Will Teach Siri How to Have “Serious Conversations” appeared first on Futurism.

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