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Alice vs Siri

How do voice assistants answer questions about taxis, Trump and suicide.

On 10 October, Yandex announced the official launch of the voice assistant, Alice, which works on the basis of a neural network trained on an array of texts.  compared Alisa with Siri to test the capabilities of the Russian service.

What is “Alice”

Alice has been tested since May 2017. In September, the voice assistant was presented during Vladimir Putin’s visit to Yandex.

Alice works in the Yandex application for iOS and Android , as well as in the beta version for Windows . The creators have promised to soon add an assistant in the Yandex Browser and other products of the company.

Thanks to SpeechKit technology , Alice is able to recognize speech, determine the meaning of what has been said and synthesize voice for an answer. The service can improvise and give different answers to the same question, not limited to a predetermined set. The company claims that Alice is capable of handling incomplete phrases and is context sensitive.

The assistant speaks in the voice of the actress Tatyana Shitova , whose recordings were also used to train the service. Shitova in the Russian box office duplicates Scarlett Johansson, including the operating system Samantha from the movie “She”.

Alisa works with Yandex.Search, Yandex.Maps, Yandex.Music and Yandex.Podoy, but in the future will be able to access other services. While the service can not advise the film or call a taxi.

At Yandex, they explained that Alice is needed to solve everyday tasks, including searching for information on the Internet, tips on a place to have dinner, or clarify the weather for tomorrow. Alice can launch third-party applications, for example, Instagram or VKontakte.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]You can talk with Alice as you would with a man: she will understand. For example, you can ask her: “Where is the coffee nearby?” – and not dictate something like “coffee shop cosmonauts street”.[/perfectpullquote] [perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Alice will glance in “Yandex. Reference book” and will offer a suitable place. And in response to “Excellent, how to get there?” – will give a link to the already constructed route in Yandex.Maps.[/perfectpullquote]
representatives of “Yandex”

There are obvious differences, for example, the response when calling a taxi. If Alice is not able to do this yet, even if Yandex.Taxi is installed on the device, then Siri is synchronized with Uber and suggests choosing one of the tariff options.

Siri and Alice respond identically to questions about attempted suicide, suggesting contacting psychologists.

As it turned out, “Alice” is often more talkative than Apple’s voice assistant. It is equally easy to find out the weather, the exchange rate or the traditional joke about the bar in both cases, and with more complicated tasks for the Russian language, Alice can win. At the same time, Siri is able to more clearly demonstrate information, as in the case of a currency rate or a card. At the first stage, it is obvious that Alice lacks support for some Yandex services or third-party applications like taxis.

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