Here’s this week’s newsletter: 

On Wednesday Amazon debuted the Echo Look, an Alexa-enabled speaker for your home that has a camera inside.

Its Style Check computer vision, Amazon said, will be able to tell people what clothes to wear and to stream live video, but of course that’s just the start. Security, mood monitoring, and other visual services seem like obvious next steps.

Whether or not additional services are made available for Echo Look in the future, any device with computer vision and Alexa will no doubt lead its owners to the Amazon.com marketplace.

The race is clearly on to use intelligent assistants like Alexa as well as bots and apps to drive ecommerce with computer vision. Last fall, EBay introduced its Shopbot. In recent weeks we’ve seen the debut of startup Mode.ai’s ecommerce Messenger bot as well as Pinterest’s Lens, which also powers visual search (with Amazon) for the new Samsung Galaxy S8.

It seems increasingly the case that it’s not just natural language understanding (NLU) that defines smart bots, but also computer vision. Given the fact that smart speakers are expected to be in 75 percent of U.S. homes by 2020, what bots can see — and the quality of the computer vision used by a bot — is going to be worth a lot to brands and businesses.

For AI and bots coverage, send news tips to Khari Johnson and guest post submissions to John Brandon. Please be sure to visit our AI Channel.

Thanks for reading,

Khari Johnson

Bots/AI Reporter

P.S. Check out the VentureBeat Facebook Messenger bot in action.

 

From the AI Channel

Above: Seth Rosenberg

Why this former Facebook Messenger product manager is investing in AI

Outsourcing, automation, and connecting strangers on chat apps are among some of the biggest opportunities in conversational commerce forming around chat app platforms, former Facebook Messenger product manager turned investor Seth Rosenberg told VentureBeat.

Last Wednesday, amid a rush of Facebook news from F8, Greylock Partners announced that Rosenberg would join its consumer investment team to make seed or early round investments in startups working with bots, AI  […]

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TOPBOTS Enterprise AI

113 enterprise AI companies you should know

Enterprise companies comprise a $3.4 trillion market worldwide, of which an increasingly larger share is being allocated to artificial intelligence technologies.

By our definition, “enterprise” technology companies create tools for workplace roles and functions that a large number of businesses use. For example, Salesforce is the primary enterprise software used by sales professionals in a company. Also known as a type of customer relationship management software, or CRM, it is the system of record for sales […]

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Above: Golden Eagle

Image Credit: Cosmo_71

Google Assistant can now turn you into a wannabe bird whisperer

About 25 new actions have landed on Google Home for Google Assistant, including an action that lets you listen to the sounds of hundreds of bird songs and one that mimics the person in your office who says innocuous, buzzword-laden things in meetings. More than 175 actions have been made available on the Google Home app since the launch of the Actions on Google platform last December. Actions are the voice apps third-party developers can create […]

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Above: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks in the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., March 17, 2017.

Image Credit: Reuters / Joshua Roberts

What happens when the Trump administration ignores AI

There’s been a lot of talk recently about Donald Trump’s lack of concern with artificial intelligence. Trump has ignored mentioning AI in any economic context, instead focusing on protecting American workers from foreign competition. Tactical decisions like this, in my opinion, could have far-reaching negative consequences for American innovation and the American economy in the long run. Here are a few reasons why Trump’s stance […]

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Above: Google Home

Image Credit: Google

Google Home can now distinguish between multiple voices

Google Assistant on Google Home is now able to support up to six user accounts and detect unique voice signatures, the company announced today. This allows Google Home users to customize a number of features, from the answer to the question “What’s on my calendar?” to the “Tell me about my day” feature […]

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Beyond VB

Elon Musk Just Outlined How He’ll Merge The Human Brain and AI 

Last week, Elon Musk confirmed reports regarding the launch of his new venture, Neuralink. Today, more details have come to light regarding the company’s ultimate goal to develop a brain-computer interface. (via Futurism)

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Bots for Messenger Are the Marketplace ‘Goldilocks,’ and This Man Would Know.

Though his title may be a mouthful, The Global Director of Platforms and Product Partnerships for Messenger at Facebook has a singular vision: to make technology that levels the playing field for every person, no matter what. Anand Chandrasekaran is doing just that with Messenger, helping to further develop strategies for Messenger that have been incredibly successful, including the integration of open-API chatbots into Messenger. Messenger, which has more than one billion […] (via Entrepreneur)

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Robots are racist and sexist. Just like the people who created them

Can machines think — and, if so, can they think critically about race and gender? Recent reports have shown that machine-learning systems are picking up racist and sexist ideas embedded in the language patterns they are fed by human engineers. The idea that machines can be as bigoted as people is an uncomfortable one for anyone who still believes in the moral purity of the digital future, but there’s nothing new or complicated about it. “Machine learning” is a fancy way of saying […] (via The Guardian)

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The AI Cargo Cult: The Myth of a Superhuman AI

I’ve heard that in the future computerized AIs will become so much smarter than us that they will take all our jobs and resources, and humans will go extinct. Is this true? That’s the most common question I get whenever I give a talk about AI. The questioners are earnest; their worry stems in part from some experts who are asking themselves the same thing. These folks are some of the smartest people alive today, such as Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, Max Tegmark, Sam Harris, and Bill Gates, and they believe this scenario very likely could be true. Recently at […] (via Backchannel)

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