Monday, April 24, 2017

Research Paper

Voice-User Interfaces

Jacob Wilson
Research Paper for NMD102
NMD Spring 2017
Keywords: voice, recognition, personal assistant, interface, speech

What is a “voice-user interface”? A voice-user interface(VUI) is what makes it possible for us humans to interact with our computers or other fitted technologies with just our voice. Whether we’re asking for the time, weather, upcoming date or telling our stove to preheat itself to 400 degrees for our frozen pizzas. The reason I chose this topic is because of recent increase in how often I saw these types of technologies being used by my friends and people around me. I personally never use any voice-user interfaces because my phone doesn’t have Siri and I don’t see the real point in using them yet when I can just Google something myself if need be. I do notice how often some of my friends use their Siri or their Amazon Alexa’s, and I do see their use for them, but it just doesn’t stick with me because I’m much more of a hands on type of person, so yelling across the room to a little speaker that’s always listening to what I have to say doesn’t really interest me. Yet the idea of these VUI’s does.
DuBravec of On TechRebulbic says that “We’ve seen more progress in this technology in the past 30 months than we have in the past 30 years. Ultimately vocal computing is replacing the traditional graphical user interface.” If VUI’s replace our standard graphical user interfaces, what would that be like? Would people just walk around with little speakers in their ears, or on their shirts clipped like microphones, or would some even be imbedded into us to get rid of the outside element itself? Spike Jones directed a movie called Her starring Jaoquin Phoenix that shows what only having VUI’s would be like. With little microphones in their ears to talk to their handheld computers the world seems to be smaller and smaller than it already was. Everything at this point is connected by talking to your computer instead of real user interfaces or even communicating with other people, who needs people when you’ve got the whole world internet in your ear.
Google, Apple, Baidu, Amazon, and Microsoft all provide this interface. These main sources of internet and household items have voice-user interfaces. Microsoft even has a piece of technology called the Kinect that is an attachment to their Xbox series that allows the user to be the controller, to control what’s happening on the screen, whether it be a videogame or just browsing their Xbox, their body is the controller. Along with the Kinect watching, recording, analyzing your body and movements at all times when the console is turned on, it also listens to you. The user can also control what’s happening with their voice, with basic commands such as “Xbox on” or “Xbox off” or “Xbox record that”, there’s many a time that it’s listening to what you say.
With Google it’s Google Voice, a software like Apple’s Siri, that allows you to use your voice to surf the web. It’s like your own personal assistant through your phone, laptop, tablet or anything you can download it on, making it virtually universally user friendly.
Baidu, or the “Google of China”, has Deep Speech 2, a speech-recognition system that leverages the power of cloud computing and machine learning to create a neural network. A neural network is practically a computer simulation of a human brain (freaky right?), which makes it a machine that learns. Deep Speech 2 had mastered a certain number of linguistic concepts, which allowed it to “learn” specific languages easier than usual. With the look at how Deep Speech 2 is going, the main developers think that this may be the first step forward into creating the first universal translation engine that could recognize any language and practically instantly and simultaneously translate it for you.
Apple has Siri, which most people have these days if they own an IPhone 4-7S, the S standing for Siri. Siri is a personal assistant application for the iOS that uses voice recognition to answer question, perform simple tasks, and make recommendations based on the user. Siri is the most commonly used VUI for people who don’t really understand what VUI is. People use Siri everyday to set alarms, reminders, send a text, ask the weather, perform basic web searches, and even to just make a ping noise to let them know where their phone is by saying “Hey Siri” loud enough that the phone dings.
That brings us to Amazon which has the new, sleek, game changing Amazon Echo. The Amazon Echo is a hands-free, voice-enabled speaker, equipped with a far-field speech recognition system that allows you to ask an array of questions/requests, at an impressive distance, without even touching it. You can even hook the Echo up to some of your household items, if you have the updated GE Appliances that are equipped with Amazon’s Alexa (derived from the Echo). This just makes doing things around the houser much more simple, you don’t even have to lift a finger.
With all these VUI’s already in use, what is in store for us in the future with these? We can already see that before Christmas of 2016 the Amazon Echo was in 4% of American households… 4%... That’s around 8 million households. That’s a substantial amount of people talking to a cylinder on top of their tables or counter tops. has an article about the future of these voice- user interfaces, and in it, it says that it will be a primary interface in households everywhere. Soon we’ll be able to turn on lights, kitchen appliances, water, alarm systems, sound systems and other things just by our voices. Soon there will be even cars that have VUI’s in them that allow them to be controlled, or interacted with voice. They VUI’s will also be a large part of the hands-free workplaces like hospitals, warehouses, laboratories, production plants, etc. With these voice controlled technologies rapidly taking over our workplaces, what is going to happen to all the real people who are likely to be replaced by machines?, a prestigious technology related website claims that at least 6% of all US jobs will be replaced by voice controlled machines. This obvious in the customer service industry especially with retail and fast food jobs where we practically don’t even need a human anymore as it is. I personally can’t wait to just converse with a computer when I’m ordering my food rather than a person, the computer will most likely get my order correct.
With all that being said we can expect a large increase of VUI’s in the next coming years. Whether they are just going to be updated ones we already have, or are new creations for in-workplace machines, we’ll soon be talking to inanimate objects much more.


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By: Ry Crist, David Carnoy, Ry Crist Twitter Facebook Googleplus Originally Hailing from Troy, Ohio, Ry Crist Is a Text-based Adventure Connoisseur, a Lover of Terrible Movies, and an Enthusiastic Yet Mediocre Cook. He Has a Strong Appreciation for Nifty, Well-designed Tech That Saves Time, Looks Stylish, And/or Helps Him Avoid Burning His Dinner Quite so Often. Ry Lives in Louisville, KY. See Full Bio, and David Carnoy Twitter Facebook Googleplus Executive Editor David Carnoy Has Been a Leading Member of CNET's Reviews Team since 2000." CNET. N.p., 15 Feb. 2016. Web. 20 Mar. 2017.

Solon, Olivia. "Robots will eliminate 6% of all US jobs by 2021, report says." The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 13 Sept. 2016. Web. 20 Mar. 2017.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Concept Idea for Alice Project

Concept of Project Alice

The concept for our project, or our interactive love story, is a beautiful story of forming a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. The story begins with both peanut butter and the jelly halfs of the sandwich working their way through the maze to find each other in the middle. They both need to overcome obstacles in order to reach each other, but boy is it worth it. It is a tale of the struggles in which we everyday individuals go through in order to find that special someone. We all go through a maze (life) and overcome many obstacles in order to reach a love filled life.

The idea is to move both pieces of toast through the maze to find each other.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Last Speech

     Watching Randy Pausch give his "last speech" about the importance of having a drive was very important to me. Recently (last year) I gave up on being a veterinarian and moved on to becoming, or working towards becoming, a cartoon show creator. I found being a veterinarian was too hard for myself. Randy would have called this a brick wall. I did indeed hit a brick wall, and I hit it hard. I went into college with the mind set that about 8 years later I would be a veterinarian or at least a vet tech. but I got half way through my freshman year and realized I'm just not that smart. I know it's not good to set limits like that for yourself, or even say that I'm not smart enough to do something, but I believe that you can tell when you can and cannot follow something through, and being a vet definitely is something that I couldn't have done. Which, brings me to making cartoon shows.
     For practically my whole life I've loved watching cartoon shows. From Loony Toons to Family Guy, they've always caught my attention. I've also loved art since I was a kid. I took art classes all throughout my high school career even though we only needed two years of them. I doodle in practically every notebook I have (yes, even your class). I love to come up with characters and story lines that involve cartoonist realities, so why not go for something that I know I'm good at?
     Watching Randy's video gave me some reassurance that as long as I keep striving for what I really want, and no matter how many brick walls are put up in front of me, made of brick or flesh, that I can really make a career out of what I love to do.
     I've always wanted to be an imagineer at Disney as well. My father went to Disney to become just that years before I was born, about 8 I believe, but he didn't have the strive for it that he thought he did, so he became a security guard for Disney instead. He wanted that all his life, to become an imagineer, but he didn't. I guess he just lacked the passion. I believe that I could have the passion in me that he lacked all those years ago. I want nothing more now than to create my own cartoon show and just make people laugh with the world that I come up with. I know I can't do this on my own, no one can make a cartoon show by themselves, but that's why I'm in college. I'm here to gain the knowledge to try and do it myself, and to meet some people with the same mind set as myself that could help out in the long run.
     I really did enjoy the video, and it sort of opened my eyes to the fact that you just can't stop doing what you're passionate about, no matter what life throws at you. Like Randy said, you gotta let karma help you along the way.

Monday, February 20, 2017

When I was a kid there was nothing that I wanted more than to be a professional baseball player. All though out my childhood I played baseball, grade 3-9. I played farm league, little league, junior league, and senior league. My stepdad used to help coach my teams back when I played, which I think was a big motivator to play better and harder.
Once I reached high school I stopped playing baseball all together. Really my only reasoning for this was that I disliked a lot of people currently on the team, and a few coaches. I didn't really see how I could have a good time if I surrounded myself with people I didn't like, so I never tried out for the team. So my once dream of being a professional baseball player was ruined by the fact that I didn't want to play with certain people. Kinda lame.
I've never really looked back on this despite how bad I wanted to be a baseball player. Now, I want to create cartoon shows. Big difference.