We just finished a banner year for practical machine learning and artificial intelligence. And as we start a new calendar, it seems an opportune time to review what has happened in the last twelve months, and to also look ahead and think about what is next.
In 2016, voice-based assistants really took off. The Echo (and other Alexa-powered devices) are now estimated to be in tens of millions of homes, and all of the major technology players have made substantial capital and personnel investments in speech and language services. These include Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, and Google’s Now. And with the launch of Home, Google is aiming to put a physical presence in the house, which had been the sole domain of Amazon and the Echo for many more months than one might have expected. Recognized as a major opportunity, nearly everyone wants to be in the business of voice so that they can play host to the next ecosystem and platform for consumer integration.
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