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Communications of the ACM


Call For a Wake Standard for Artificial Intelligence

polygonal face and colored shapes, illustration

Credit: O-IAHI / Shutterstock / Andrij Borys Associates

Apple pioneered the voice revolution in 2011 with the introduction of Siri in its iPhone 4s. Today, you tell your iPhone 11, "Hey Siri, Play Bruce Springsteen by Spotify," and it responds, "I can't talk to Spotify, but you can use Apple music instead," politely displaying options on the screena as shown in the figure here. Or, you tell one of your five Amazon Echo devices at home, "Alexa, add pumpkin pie to my Target shopping list,"b then "order AA Duracell batteries," and it adds pumpkin pie and Amazon Basics batteries to your Amazon shopping cart, ignoring your request to shop at Target and be loyal to Duracell. You are the consumer, but your choices have been ignored.

Or, consider you are a brand manager. You want to customize the voice of Echo to match your brand persona, but it is not an option offered. Amazon only lets users change the default female voice to "male" and to a few other lonely options. Instead you decide to create a personalized assistant. However, unlike the leading technology companies (the so-called FAANGs—Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Google), your company does not have the thousands of engineers and vast advertising budgets needed to develop it.


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