Smart speakers are one of the top-selling gifts this Black Friday and holiday season.Devices like the Amazon Echo and Google Home are at the frontlines of a new platform shift in tech: voice computing.Business Insider Prime takes a look at the opportunities, challenges and implications of the shift to voice in this special series of stories.Smart speakers like the Amazon Echo and the Google Home are some of the hottest tech products this holiday season. The compact gadgets have no keyboards or mice, and usually no screens. Just talk to one of the devices and it responds, serving up news, recipes and other info, playing your favorite music and even controlling the lights and thermostat in your house. Smart speakers are the most visible manifestation of a broader shift happening in tech: the rise of voice computing. Thanks to advances in speech recognition, artificial intelligence and processing power, it’s now possible to step away from the screens of PCs and phones, and tap into the internet simply by speaking. The virtual assistants that make this possible, like Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Assistant, can live inside all sorts of products beyond smart speakers — from wristwatches to microwave ovens and eyeglasses. The age of voice computing promises to open up exciting new opportunities that once seemed possible only in science-fiction movies (Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has even credited “Star Trek” as the inspiration for the Echo device). But it also brings new challenges and implications for privacy, security as well as accessibility and diversity.Who are the startups leading the voice revolution? What are the different ways businesses can adapt to the emerging voice platform? And what are risks to prepare for?In this special report on Business Insider Prime, we take a close look the tech industry’s next big platform shift: voice.2 Amazon execs discuss plans to make a smarter Alexa that can anticipate your needs and stay ahead of Google in the voice wars
Smart speakers have been been reluctant to bombard users with ads, but that could be about to change
Samantha Lee/Business Insider
Hackers are inventing clever ways to trick the microphones in smart speakers, and it’s opening a ‘new world of dangers’Check back here for more stories about the shift to voice computing in the coming days and weeks.
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