Facebook is working on a voice assistant to rival Amazon Alexa and Apple’s Siri

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Facebook is working on a voice assistant to rival Amazon Alexa and Apple's Siri



FACEBOOK is developing a voice assistant to rival Amazon Alexa, Apple’s Siri and Alphabet Inc’s Google Assistant.
The AI assistant could reportedly be used on the tech giant’s Portal video chat smart speakers, the Oculus headsets or other future projects.
Alamy Facebook is developing a voice assistant to rival Amazon Alexa (shown)
“We are working to develop voice and AI assistant technologies that may work across our family of AR/VR products including Portal, Oculus and future products,” a Facebook spokesperson said.
CNBC reported that the tech company has been developing the new assistant since early 2018.
A Washington-based team from Facebook’s augmented reality and virtual reality group has been spearheading the effort.
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Amazon and Google are the leaders in the smart speaker market with 67 per cent and 30 per cent shares in the US in 2018, respectively, according to eMarketer.
Amazon’s Echo is expected to capture 63.3 per cent of smart speaker users in 2019, while Google Home will account for 31 per cent.
It comes days after reports Amazon is listening to customers through Alexa devices.
Employees reportedly recorded thousands of clips including a woman singing in the shower and a sex assault.
Full-time workers and contractors at the online retail giant reportedly sift through as many as 1,000 recordings per shift – and even share “amusing” clips between themselves.
Seven former employees who worked in Amazon’s voice review programme came forward with the startling revelations, reported by Bloomberg.
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They said the recordings – made through Amazon devices like the Echo speaker – are linked to the customer’s first name, their device’s serial number and even their personal account number.
Listened to by voice review employees worldwide, some of the clips feature intimate private moments in customers’ lives – and even record harrowing crimes.
Among the clips listened to by the former employees was a recording of a woman singing in the shower.
Another recorded the sound of a child screaming – while a third recorded a sexual assault taking place, the employees said.

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Apple and Google – who also make popular voice-assistant tech – also have employees who listen to audio commands.
But both companies insist the recordings are completely anonymous and are not paired with customers’ accounts.
Amazon’s website insists that Alexa is not recording all users’ conversations.
Alamy Facebook’s new AI assistant could rival Siri
Getty – Contributor Thousands of clips recorded by Amazon devices are analysed by employees every shift, according to former staff
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