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Hearing Voices - Issue #53, or "A Looming Challenge for Privacy, Democracy, and National Security...NBD"

"Clearly, voice shopping is not yet in the stage of being a mass market product" — an unnamed source

Hearing Voices

August 10 · Issue #53 · View online
This week's news about voice computing apps, delivered directly to your inbox.

“Clearly, voice shopping is not yet in the stage of being a mass market product” — an unnamed source for The Information

“Clearly, this newsletter is not yet in the stage of being a mass market product” — an unnamed editor of this newsletter. who is definitely not me.*

*it was me.

This week, 5 things about voice, 3 things about synthetic media. Let’s get to it:

What’s up in Voice Interfaces:
  • Read The Reality Behind Voice Shopping Hype. Interesting here that “only about 2% of the people with devices that use Amazon’s Alexa intelligent assistant…have made a purchase with their voices so far in 2018” Although later in the article they do mention that 20% of users “have engaged more broadly with Alexa voice shopping by using commands like ‘What are my deals?’ and 'Where is my stuff?’” To me, “what are my deals” is potential top-of-funnel shopping, and could be added to the 2% opportunity, whereas “where’s my stuff” is less compelling as part of the purchase funnel (just as email order tracking is mechanical versus being part of product discovery).
  • Read [the abstract of] Direct effects of music in non-auditory cells in culture. I don’t claim to grasp the science here, but the end of the abstract is interesting: “the aim of the present study was to evaluate the response of a human breast cancer cell line, MCF7, to music. The results’ obtained suggest that music can alter cellular morpho-functional parameters, such as cell size and granularity in cultured cells. Moreover, our results suggest for the [first] time that music can directly interfere with hormone binding to their targets, suggesting that music or audible sounds could modulate physiological and pathophysiological processes.” Wow.
  • Submit your Alexa skill to the Alexa Skills Challenge: Tech for Good: Build Alexa Skills that have a positive impact on the environment and local communities
  • Try Bank of America’s new Voice Assistant
  • Read about how it [above] was built. Good post on developing voice products in contexts that work. Good medium post for devs, specifically calling out “the power of multimodal experiences.” 2 million people are using this thing.

What’s up in Synthetic Media:

Have a great weekend
— Matt

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