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The Xbox One Will Reportedly Soon Support Alexa and Google Assistant

Alexa, Google Assistant to be integrated in XBox One

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AI-driven audio news feed comes to Google Assistant. (IANS)
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Microsoft is reportedly working with Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa to support voice commands for the upcoming “Xbox One”.

The new gaming console is expected to come with a new “Digital Assistants” menu for users to choose from Alexa, Google Assistant and Cortana to control the device using voice commands with.

“The full range of features for those assistants remain unknown, but it could bring many voice-assisted features,” Windows Central reported on Sunday.

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“Microsoft along with Amazon and Google might give some of the voice-assisted dedicated microphone features too,” the report added.

Cortana, reportedly will become an “app” for Amazon Echo and probably other speakers.

Former Xbox console marketing lead Albert Penello recently joined Amazon specifically to grow the Echo’s presence in gaming. (IANS)

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Google Rolls Out Gender Specific Translation to Reduce Bias

Google said it is also thinking about how to address non-binary gender in translations, though it is not part of this initial launch

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Google starts rolling out gender specific translation to reduce bias. Pixabay

In a bid to reduce gender biases in its translation service, Google has started rolling out a feature that provides feminine and masculine translations for some gender-neutral words on the Google Translate website.

The feature is currently available only for a few languages, although Google plans to bring it to more languages soon.

So one can now translate single words from English to languages like French, Italian, Portuguese, or Spanish. As of now, translations for short phrases and sentences that mention a person in a gender-neutral way is available for the English and Turkish language pair.

“In the future, we plan to extend gender-specific translations to more languages, launch on other Translate surfaces like our iOS and Android apps, and address gender bias in features like query auto-complete,” James Kuczmarski, Product Manager, Google Translate, said in a blog post on Thursday.

Google Translate learns from hundreds of millions of already-translated examples from the web.

Historically, it has provided only one translation for a query, even if the translation could have either a feminine or masculine form.

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A Google logo is seen at the company’s headquarters in Mountain View, California, VOA

So when the model produced one translation, it inadvertently replicated gender biases that already existed.

For example, it would skew masculine for words like “strong” or “doctor,” and feminine for other words, like “nurse” or “beautiful.”

“Now you’ll get both a feminine and masculine translation for a single word – like ‘surgeon’ when translating from English into French, Italian, Portuguese or Spanish,” Kuczmarski said.

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“You’ll also get both translations when translating phrases and sentences from Turkish to English. For example, if you type ‘o bir doktor’ in Turkish, you’ll now get ‘she is a doctor’ and ‘he is a doctor’ as the gender-specific translations,” Kuczmarski said.

The new feature is part of Google’s efforts to promote fairness and reduce bias in Machine Learning.

Google said it is also thinking about how to address non-binary gender in translations, though it is not part of this initial launch. (IANS)