Tussle for artificial intelligence market: How Amazon’s Alexa pipped Apple’s Siri

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NEW DELHI, JUNE 20
Amazon.com said on Tuesday that it has partnered with hospitality chain Marriott International to help increase guest access to amenities with Alexa, through its voice-controlled device Echo, in an attempt to expand its presence in the hospitality industry.
Alexa for hospitality would assist in providing services ranging from ordering room service to requesting housekeeping or calling the concierge for dinner recommendations without picking up the phone.
The company said the partnership will start this summer at Marriott’s select properties and the service will be available by invitation to other hotel chains. News agency Reuters reported that Marriott had tested both Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa to select what was best suited for its hotels.
On whether Alexa was chosen over Siri, Marriott said “this was not a direct comparison with Siri. We work with a number of partners in order to test emerging technology so we can learn and leverage what we believe will enhance the guest experience.”
Amazon pipping Apple is a microcosm of the fierce fight among top tech companies to tap the potential of artificial intelligence (AI). Apart from devising newer research and development avenues, the tech giants are now also looking at finding use cases for these ventures in the market.
According to a report, revenues from the AI market are projected to rise a whopping 2,329 per cent from $126 billion in 2015 to $3,061 billion in 2024.Here is a roundup of what the major tech companies are up to of late as far as AI is concerned:
APPLE At its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2018 earlier this month, Apple introduced Siri Shortcuts for its latest iOS 12. The offering is expected to study behaviours of Apple users and provide shortcuts in the lock screen accordingly. Industry experts have observed Apple’s strategy as to offer more AI services on local devices rather than relying upon clod-based resources as competitors like Google, Microsoft or Amazon do.
GOOGLE Google had created a tool that could forecast a host of patient outcomes, including how long people may stay in hospitals, their odds of re-admission and chances they will soon die. The company’s health research unit — sometimes referred to as Medical Brain — is working on a slew of AI tools that can predict symptoms and disease with a level of accuracy.
There is reportedly a lot of excitement around the new venture.”They’ve finally found a new application for AI that has commercial promise,” news agency Bloomberg quoted a Google employee
Earlier this month, the company pledged it will not use artificial intelligence in applications related to weapons, surveillance that violates international norms, or that works in ways that go against human rights.
MICROSOFT In another case of top companies engaging in AI battle, news agency Reuters reported that Microsoft is working on technology that would eliminate cashiers and checkout lines from stores, in a nascent challenge to Amazon’s automated grocery shop Amazon Go. Last month the company’s Indian-origin chief, Satya Nadella, does not believe in the “fallacy” that robots will overtake human labour and is confident that artificial intelligence (AI) will solve more problems than cause them. TESLA In stark contrast to Nadella’s optimism around AI, Tesla boss Elon Musk is quite circumspect about the technology. Having described AI as ‘humanity’s biggest existential threat’ in 2014, last year he went a notch higher and opined “competition for AI superiority at national level” could well cause World War III. OpenAI, an artificial intelligence research organisation co-founded by Musk has a charter for use of AI and has ‘discovering and enacting the path to safe artificial general intelligence’ written on the home page of its official website.

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