Do Androids Dream of Chocolate Cake? Click

Do Androids Dream of Chocolate Cake?

A look at whether voice-controlled personal assistants live up to the hype and at the potential dangers of living in a world where all electronics are controlled by voice.

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Now on BBC News, it's time for Click.


This week, destressing with a future ball, knocking up Google, and


shouting at Amazon. Tell me, who is the murderer! THEME SONG.


Welcome home. How was your day? Awful. That is a shame. I will run


you a bath and play relaxing music. MUSIC PLAYS. Rory, do I have any


messages. 17,000 Tweets, and fake news updates. Anything urgent? Your


boss wants dinner tonight. Is there anything to eat? A scallop which


feeds four. The oven will come on now and his favourite wine will come


at seven. And get some chocolate double fudge cake. I have ordered


it. Shall I apply for a gym membership for you? Mute. One day we


really will have artificial intelligence in our personal


assistance which we can talk to and who know us better than ourselves.


Thank you, Rory. You are welcome. We are not there yet, but we are well


on the way. What started in our phones with names like Siri,


Cortana, and, uh, OK, Google, can now control cars and homes too. Echo


led the way. And Google is coming out in the UK. It is good to have


personal assistants, but the more we use them, the more trust we have to


placed in them. OK, Google, is Obama planning a coup? According to


secret. In his day job, Rory recently discovered that you cannot


always believe what they say. Obama is going to have a communist who at


the end of his term in 2018. That fake news story was the top search


result for that question. Dan Simmons has been looking at some of


the other unintended consequences of living with these devices.


As we transition from controlling things from screens to using our


voice, those providing services could start getting tricky. I am in


the BBC's Blue Room, a space where the broadcaster posts out new


technology. And with the voice assistance, it is not all going


smoothly. Alexa, when is the next train to Manchester? Sorry, I did


not understand the question I heard. If you have to find out when the


next train to Manchester is, right now you have to say, open the


National Rail App and go through other steps. That is not natural.


You have to go through many steps to find out content from somebody else


to be the default service provider is very simple. Blame a song from a


certain provider, tell me the news from a certain provider. -- play me


a. That is a great thing for that, but everything else is critical. A


lot of work needs to be done to level the playing field. And that


disadvantage applies to search results as well. Up until now,


website and to be on the first page of results. With voice assistance,


just one answer comes back. OK, Google, how far is the moon? That is


fine if it is a right or wrong definitive answer. That is what


companies do most. It is this far from Earth. More controversial if


you are looking for a product or service. For anyone else, how did


you get to that position? Only one person can have the first spot.


Everyone else will have to figure out what did they do, how do they


work with Amazons and Googles to figure out how to get their results


first. This is not the end of the world, it is just the end of


competition as we know it. Oxford University is home to one of the


world's most influential thinkers when it comes to competition to be


if we use our assistants to buy stuff, this man believes there will


be consequences, and they will not be unintended ones. That shift from


that environment to the digital helper, what is it that you have?


You have a helper that is voice-activated, you are one step


further from the ability to look for outside options. Your ability to


check whether the price you received is truly the best price. You tell


your helper, order me one, two, three, and you just assumed that the


helper will serve your needs. The likelihood is that in a two side


market, the helper is actually serving the platform. Today, your


assumption, our default assumption, is the price you receive is the


competitive rice. -- price. And you are suggesting that it will not be?


I am telling you that it is not. A walk down Oxford's Cornmarket street


reveal something the professor believes will not be around much


longer on line. How much is this, for example? How much is this today?


?5. This gentle man over here, hello, how much would you sell this


to him, and how much to me? You just met us in the street. The same price


for everyone. Of course. Absolutely. Do you think I would pay more? No.


To be honest, lately, tourists by more. Really? You think you made for


-- may pay more than me? It is one price for everyone, but digital


assistants will get to know us so well, prices will be tailored to us


as well, effectively becoming a gatekeeper to the best deals. I went


to see one of those gatekeepers, Google, and asked them if sellers


goodbye their way to the top result and get recommended by their digital


assistant. -- could purchase. The consumer is the main focus for us.


Doing something like that will not help them find what they want. We


want to make sure we are focused on what they want. Amazon told us there


is lots of potential and room for many participants to be our job is


to innovate on behalf of the customer and then let customers


decide. By perhaps what these home assistants are most useful for is


what they are becoming most known for, and that is controlling other


things around the house. Alexa, turn on the bar lights. OK. Alexa, bar


lights off. OK. PHONE RINGS. Hi. Dan, are you there? Look, I know we


have not seen each other, and you think I am crazy, but I was just


passing by, and... Oh, wait, have you still got that stupid voice


control thing, what was it, Alexa? Turn on the bar lights. OK. Alexa,


turn on the microwave. Have I got your attention now? Alexa, unlock


the front door. OK. It is only me. We set that up. But the lights were


real, even though the other and in the front door was faked a little


bit by us to just show you what the potential is of this technology if


it cannot recognise your voice. In actual fact, Amazon tell us the


unlock feature for doors is not available on the Echo, and that may


be the biggest admission there is that there is a lot to be done with


security on these devices. Welcome to the Week in Tech. . The week that


Apple said its latest apps laptop was a bad design. And Blizzard, the


maker of Overwatch, successfully sued a cheater for copyright


infringement. But Graphine stole the show. They have created a means of


removing salt from sea water, eventually bringing potential to


provide cheap water. Amazon has been selling a billion dollars' worth of


shares a year for a space project. They had to send travellers into


space in the next two years. In Massachusetts, a robotic arm picks


up random objects and puts them on a conveyor belt all day and shares its


information with other robots so they can do it too. It could be a


warehouse of the future. And a man flew with a robot arm developed in


his garage. It has six jet engines. It can fly hundreds of miles per


hour. Although Richard is exercising restraint, he said, for now. Amazon


Echo, Google Home, maybe one day even Rory. It looks like the rise of


the digital assistant is upon us. All of these are trying to be wide


ranging all-purpose artificial intelligence systems. That is the


technical term, Horizontal AI. That is hard. To cover a lot of subjects


and too many tasks, these things have to understand a lot of things.


Rory, tell Stephen I will call him in the office after my train


journeys. First it works out what I said. Then it pulls out the


important words. Then comes the reasoning and context it needs, and


it does so by scanning my calendar and my train timetable and guess is


that he is the Stephen in the office, not the friend, and then the


right action needs to be performed, schedule the call and let him know.


But ROVs best placed to do that? -- are these. Or should we speak to


other specialist Vertical AIs that it do one job really, really well. X


dot AI is a company that thinks that. We scheduled a call for his


secretary, Andrew. It was only after five messages we realised that


Andrew is actually artificial intelligence, a specialist AI that


only scheduled meeting. I have to say it interpreted Aaron messages


and request pretty well. Shore enough, on line is the man who


invented it, Dennis. Congratulations, you fooled us with


Andrew. Will we have any general assistants in the future or many


vertical ones? We imagine this will play at in the short-term future.


Think Siri, Alexa, so on, they will answer simple questions, but will


also enable us to talk to vertical AIs which are specialised in doing


one job really well. I think what will happen is you will have a whole


plethora of Vertical AIs on your payroll, like Siri and Cortana, with


13 agents on payrolls to do jobs you don't want to do. There is a whole


application store for this with different jobs in different needs.


It will be the same with intelligent agents. You will have different


needs. Take you for your time. Sender Aaron love to Andrew. -- Send


our love. In San Francisco, we have been living a very smart life.


Set the temperature to 72 degrees. Setting to Brita to 72 degrees... To


be gay I is a faithful servant arranger Rome. Its control comes


from and read out, and the Nicolet proud of the way it understands when


you are saying. Turn the lights on in the living room. Turning light on


in the living room. Make it read. Setting colour to read in the living


room. Typically, when you have different devices from different


brands and manufacturers that have a bunch of apps for every device, and


it is really inconvenient to jump around and switch from one up to


another. The app integrates with other popular home devices. But like


most smart home assistance, the commands are pretty basic. In the


future, we will add scenes. When you wake up in the morning, you can say


good morning, and then Peter Richel will be comfortable view and the


lights will be on in certain areas. These home assistance are still a


little buggy and frustrating at times. But they are getting there.


And study to feel quite useful. The next challenge is to take those


assistance outside of the home. Ford recently opened this research centre


in the silicon valley. One of its main project is to integrate smart


assistance into its cars. They have been working with others on to work


in the Alexa assistant. You can find out important information about your


car. Moto3, asked me ford mobile for my tyre pressure. Your vehicle's


tyre pressure is not currently showing any warnings. -- Alexa, show


me my Ford. If you had to wait in a freezing vehicle as it warms up, you


might appreciate this. Ask me Ford to warm up my car. OK, so your pin.


Five, six, seven, eight. Sending start command to the car. I mean, it


is not quite the roar of the engine, but it is surely be causing you can


do with this technology right now. Out on the road, the assistant steps


in to make typical in car function of little more hands-free. --


functions. Alexa, continue reading my audio book. OK, so I can pick up


where I left off. The three, find the nearest coffee shop. Here are a


few nearby options... The integration is fun, but far from


perfect. Alexa still suffers from the same problem that many


assistants have, rather than talking naturally to it, you find yourself


having to think about what phrase will unlock the information you


need. When you're trying to drive, that silicon could quite


distracting. It has a leg which detection system, so does understand


what you say, independent of how you say it. I wonder if people will be


thinking more about Alexa is thinking, rather than what is ahead


of them on the road. As a driver, we want to make driving safer, so you


should always keep your hands on the steering wheel and focus on the


road. And then to your entertainment and entertainment on the road, you


could use your voice, which is really the safest way to interact


with the car, in general. James looked at it different in the early


80s. To get Dolby 5.1 audio. To get realistic lighting effects. Forget


about 3-D graphics in most cases. Attitudes to games won't exactly


enthusiastic, either. Sports games. Well, these are perhaps the most


appalling list of computers to me. This is to cap on. Doing a decathlon


on a Commodore, white wagging a joystick, is not a substitute for


fresh air. Ouch. There was one genre of games, though, where the graphics


and audio did not matter. Where did not matter that you would often be


presented with a still, 8-bit image, or sometimes just a black screen


with a flashing white coaster. That screen itself was the window into


worlds of limitless imagination. Welcome to the experience of the


text adventure. When competing power is limited, the text adventure that


players head scratching puzzles and mysteries, all brought to life by


typing instructions into the game. But the reason that I have taken us


on this journey down 32 kilobits memory lane is because of the games


that have been playing on this, the Amazon Echo. It is titled I see


those old text adventures quite a bit. Leading you through the Abbey,


the bass approach is one of the sisters. -- abbess. You might think


playing a game in one of these is like trying to play a game on a


microwave. Because it lacks a screen or any other way of interacting with


it other than barking commands at it, but that is exactly how the game


I am about to play works. Play risque. -- Runescape. This story is


about an assassin Demon... The player must solve a murder in a


fantasy realm. The gameplay is like an interaction to make interactive


version of an audio book. You get on dialogue, then it went for a


response. Surprisingly, it commands quite a


bit of your attention, and it is quite a relaxing way to play a game,


although that relaxing mood is shattered when you hear this. Sorry,


that is not a valid command. Which you hear quite a lot. Would you like


to talk to the abbess are now? Talk to the abbess. Sorry... Talk to the


grocery... Sorry, that is not a valid command. -- talk to the


abbess. It can shatter the elution and become increasingly frustration


when it does not understand what you are saying. Which is busily bit of a


problem for again you play by talking to it. Sorry, that is not a


valid command. When it does work, though, Runescape


on the Amazon Echo is fun and immersive. It highlights the


potential these devices have beyond reading at the weather to you or


reciting rubbish jokes. Runescape is available by the skill section of


the Alexa up. -- app. Have a sick bay filled with headaches... When


Star Trek introduced a device to scan a passionate and, with a


diagnosis, it was in the realm of science fiction. But 50 years on,


this dream is becoming a reality. It, we will discover the winner of


$18 million prize playing a march to such a's medical device. The


challenge? To design and build a device that will register 13


conditions. It could and visits to the doctor. We figured out what the


diagnostic process is, at least the way I am doing it, and build a


system with that in mind. So it is not like a single device like the


Star Trek series. It lets us you interact with it on a tablet in our


prototype, and then plugged in components. So we have a little


device like this. User will be guided, they are guided to listen to


sounds. Des Connor device in your home is really a medical centre


right in your house. -- this kind of device. If your child is ill, if you


are not feeling well, it is your first stop. There is a revolution


coming in healthcare. This is the type of device that is going to help


give people the power to take care of themselves. And as soon as we


know who has one, we will let you know on Twitter. Think you for all


your interactions on Twitter, too, which this week included choosing


the name of our artificial intelligent to intelligence. So good


night, Rory. See you soon.


This edition investigates the rise of the robot butler, looking at whether voice-controlled personal assistants live up to the hype and at the potential dangers of living in a world where all electronics are controlled by voice.

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