The purpose of this CXTech Week 50 2022 newsletter is to highlight, with commentary, some of the news stories in CXTech this week. What is CXTech? The C stands for Connectivity, Communications, Collaboration, Conversation, Customer; X for Experience because that’s what matters; and Tech because the focus is enablers.
You can sign up here to receive the CXTech News and Analysis by email. Please forward this on if you think someone should join the list. And please let me know any CXTech news I should include. I skipped a couple of weeks as things have been a little hectic.
Covered this week:
- Conversation Intelligence Review, TADSummit 2022
- Open Source Zapier Alternative, Automatisch
- How to rebuild social media on top of RSS
- The Transistor at 75
- App Identifies Parkinson’s, COVID-19 Based on User’s Voice
- Moral Crumple Zones
- People, Gossip, and Frivolous Stuff
This is a great resource on the state of play in conversation interfaces, and the latest innovations in conversation intelligence from companies at the bleeding edge of the industry. This is where you learn what is real, where conversation intelligence is being successfully applied, and the latest developments.
How to best maximize the conversation data stream for your business?
This is an excellent update from Surbhi of Symbl.ai on their progress. Symbl.ai is focusing and how to integrate all the information from voice into the datastream of a company. That is the flow of information (voice, text, operational data) through an ETL pipeline (extract, transform and load) that is then used for business intelligence, applications, research and analysis, etc.
CPaaS Conversational Platforms and Conversational Customer Service – The Experience Gap?
Ben provides a great resource on the status of building a conversation interfaces that work without human intervention. Well done Ben for sharing such a frank and insightful presentation. Presentations like Ben’s are why I’m proud of TADSummit.
Master the Audience Experience Multiverse: AX Best Practices and Success Stories.
We’ve had some excellent presentations from UIB over the years, I particularly liked Muzzamel’s presentation on how not to build a chatbot from last year. A great aspect of all of UIB’s deployments and best practices is they reinforced the issues Ben described in his presentation. And show even with the gaps, with focus, conversation intelligence can solve compelling problems.
Latest Updates and Experiences in Launching Local Language Tools.
Karel provides some background on Voxist, which began from a hack at TADHack Paris in 2016. The idea was simply a voice assistant when you reach voicemail. And Voxist started with 2 features, personalized greetings and speech to text, so you can read your voice messages. For the latter feature many telcos charge to this day.
It’s an inspiring journey on how Voxist is augmenting its offer beyond voicemail by adding ASR for French and English, Voxist AI. With plans for Spanish, Portuguese, German, Italian; and other capabilities.
Zapier is a cloud service that allows you to connect different services like Twitter, Slack, Github, etc., to automate any business processes. Even though Zapier does the job well enough, we wanted to build an open-source alternative because some companies want to keep sensitive user data private from any external cloud service. It’s even more critical for European companies that must comply with GDPR.
If you want to see available integrations, you can check here: https://automatisch.io/docs/guide/available-apps. They include: DeepL, Discord, Flickr, Github, RSS, Ntfy, Salesforce, Scheduler, Slack, SMTP, Stripe, Telegram, Twilio, Twitter, Typeform, and Webhooks.
You can also request a new integration by using GitHub discussions: https://github.com/automatisch/automatisch/discussions/categories/integration-request.
– NodeJS (Express)
– Material UI
So far, they’ve had:
– 522 stars
– 26 forks
– 646 PRs closed
– 117 issues closed
– 2 contributors from the community
One of the integrations of Automatisch is RSS (Really Simple Syndication). And this leads me to an interesting article by Jacob O’Bryant on building an unbundled web of reading, publishing, and community services all play nicely together using RSS as the primary method of interop. Decentralized social media, without blockchain. It’s relatively simple with the focus on user experience. Given Twitter is being destroyed by its capricious owner, the timing could be right.
Jacob’s recommendations to implement this vision include:
- Community apps should provide the option of publishing an RSS feed of all new posts. Your reading app should be able to subscribe to new posts from all the communities you’re in. You shouldn’t have to check a bunch of different apps all the time.
- Publishing apps should compile a “social feed” with your posts from communities you’re in. If a bunch of discussion apps started doing #1, then you could add all those feeds to your publishing app and tell it your username(s). Then instead of telling people to follow you on Twitter, you can tell them to subscribe to your social feed.
- Reading apps should provide a good experience for social feeds. A very simple thing reading apps could do is automatically separate feeds by frequency.
- Reading apps should make it really easy to subscribe to RSS feeds. Every reading app should let you create shareable links where people can subscribe to an RSS feed and sign up for the reading app at the same time.
This is a great review of what has built the world we know today. I remember studying the point-contact transistor and the BJT (Bipolar Junction Transistor) at university. However, the people stories of those who worked at Bell Labs building them is as interesting.
I get unreasonable annoyed by the use of DSP for Digital Service Provider, rather than Digital Signal Processor. It shows marketing BS has taken over telecoms. These articles bring the present, past and future of the transistor into sharp relief, with a heavy dose of engineering practicality. A great Christmas read to reconnect with the fundamentals of our industry.
The past, present, and future of the modern world’s most important invention
Even its inventors didn’t fully understand the point-contact transistor
The transistor’s amazing evolution from point contacts to quantum tunnels
In 75 years, it’s become tiny, mighty, ubiquitous, and just plain weird
When transistors can’t get any smaller, the only direction is up
What will the device be like on its 100th anniversary?
Nothing but better devices can tackle humanity’s growing challenges
We covered this at TADSummit 2021 with Dr. Shona D’Arcy, CEO Kids Speech Labs, in the presentation Voice Technology for Healthcare.
Two recent studies show that AI algorithms can successfully analyze people’s voices to identify those in the early stages of Parkinson’s disease or a severe COVID-19 infection of the lungs. The researchers incorporated these algorithms into a smartphone app called Aum, which can be used to diagnose and monitor the respective conditions.
This week the press got all excited about nuclear fusion, again. All they need do is chat to a couple of experts, than believe what’s written in a press release.
I’d like to point out a team at the UK Atomic Energy Authority (which hosts the Joint European Torus [JET] plasma physics experiment) in February 2022, induced the single greatest sustained energy pulse ever created by humans. It had twice the energy of the previous record-setting blast, triggered a quarter century earlier. Produced a record 59 megajoules of fusion energy, more than doubling the previous record of 21.7 megajoules set in 1997 at JET. There was little coverage even in the UK press.
The National Ignition Facility (NIF) made a recently announcement, heralded as “game-changing,” “transformative,” and “a moment of history.” But this is not a meaningful breakthrough for practical, commercial fusion power: NIF still drains at least 130 times more energy from the power grid than it produces.
And putting it all in proportion, the sun delivers about a kilowatt per square metre to much of Earth’s surface. Improved batteries and solar panels continue to deliver a better return on investment.
Thanks to Sami Mäkeläinen for pointing me to this article.
A moral crumple zone describes how responsibility for an action may be misattributed to a human actor who had limited control over the behavior of an automated or autonomous system.
The human in a highly complex and automated system may become simply a component—accidentally or intentionally—that bears the brunt of the moral and legal responsibilities when the overall system malfunctions.
The moral crumple zone protects the integrity of the technological system, at the expense of the nearest human operator. The concept is both a challenge to and an opportunity for the design and regulation of human-robot systems.
Madeleine Clare Elish reviews several incidents such as a self-driving Uber car struck and killed a pedestrian in 2018, Three Mile Island, the Challenger accident, and the crash of Air France Flight 447. Its fascinating reading.
The article presents the concept of the “moral crumple zone” as both a challenge to and an opportunity for the design and regulation of human-robot systems. At stake in the concept of the moral crumple zone is not only how accountability may be distributed in any robotic or autonomous system, but also how the value and potential of humans may be allowed to develop in the context of human-machine teams.
I remember when TMO got rid of IVR for voice recognition over 3G voice over one decade ago. It was a train wreck, customers were exhausted trying to navigate the system that couldn’t understand them, the CSRs were exhausted by frustrated customers, they were the crumple zone. I think TMO moved back to IVR at some point for a time.
I think Amazon has a quite good approach, all online, simple questions with drop down answers, and sensible resolutions. Its fast. If it fails and a human is needed, it’s resolved in chat so I can multitask. I really do not want to talk with a CSR for many businesses as it wastes so much of my time and I’m rarely left satisfied, looking at you Verizon!
People, Gossip, and Frivolous Stuff
Dr. Carey Bunks is now Phd Researcher in Artificial Intelligence and Music at Queen Mary University of London