The Daily Walk with Love
— REVISED, REWRITTEN AND UPDATED:
Lots of people are saying Cortana is being left behind by Siri,
and especially Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s NOW. But
we knew for years that open source geeks were working on our own
artificially intelligent personal assistants for Linux, and now
the time has come for us. Among your choices are
Mycroft, subject of this article, Lucida (formerly Sirius)
and Jarvis. Mycroft is supposed to be just as capable as Siri
if not more so, and will install on your Ubuntu
(and Ubuntu-based OS’s), Debian, Fedora or
any Arch-based Linux operating system, theoretically,
though I had some trouble with Linux Mint. Downloads are
also available for Raspberry Pi and Android, too.
February 24, 2018
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Mycroft: The Open-Source, AI powered Voice
Assistant Challenging Cortana, Siri and Alexa
Mycroft requires a decent understanding of Linux,
especially with the “terminal” (command line) installation, but is
really useful and only getting better,
and once installed, is a blast!
The Daily Walk with Love, February 24, 2018, by Paul Evans. Sources are This Open-Source AI Voice Assistant Is Challenging Siri and Alexa for Market Superiority, Forbes, May 15, 2017, by Matt Hunckler; Video is Mycroft AI running on Ubuntu GNOME 16.04, Softpedia on YouTube, credit to Christopher Goulet — 1:55. Featured image is the Mycroft company icon.
The idea for an open-source, reliable challenger to Cortana goes at least as far back as 2016. See Mycroft: Linux’s Own AI, Linux.com, January 16, 2016 (over two years ago), by Swapnil Bhartiya:
The future is artificially intelligent. We are already surrounded by devices that are continuously listening to every word that we speak. There is Siri, Google Now, Amazon Alexa, and Microsoft’s Cortana. The biggest problem with these AI “virtual assistants” is that users have no real control over them. They use closed source technologies to send every bit of information they collect from users back to their masters.
Some industry leaders, such as Elon Musk (Tesla, SpaceX), are not huge fans of AI. To ensure that AI will not turn against humanity and start a war, they have created a non-profit organization called OpenAI. But, Linux users don’t have to worry about it. A very ambitious project called Mycroft is working on a friendly AI virtual assistant for Linux users.
Incidentally, if you’re hung up on Mycroft being a butler in the best English (male) tradition of a man, for a subscription of $2.99 a month, he takes on a very pleasant female voice. It reminds me of the old narrators in Windows XP, where you could turn on a male or a female personality.
See Download Mycroft at Mycroft.ai, which has downloads for Raspberry Pi, Linux and Android, and notes it soon will be available for Windows and Apple products; and Mycroft Core at github.com, which is a README has the “terminal” commands you need (and there aren’t that many of them).
You may recall that Mycroft was Sherlock Holmes’ brother. Visit Mycroft.ai to learn about this up and coming company and its artificially intelligent personal assistant. For Gnome, Mycroft is simply a shell extension, it’s almost automatic!
Forbes on Mycroft and natural voice recognition abilities:
“There’s an entire community of developers looking to access this technology, but so far, it’s been the purview of a few large companies. The technology is walled-off, proprietary, and secretive,” said Joshua Montgomery, CEO of Kansas City-based Mycroft AI, Inc.
As an alternative to these market leaders, Montgomery and his team created Mycroft, the world’s first open-source AI voice assistant. Mycroft is free to download and use, and developers are invited to alter its code to expand and improve the NLP [natural language processing] functionality. More than 700 independent developers are already making contributions to Mycroft’s software.
See Get Started with Mycroft, on Mycroft.ai. Apparently, although the voice assistant Mycroft has been around at least since 2016, and is becoming more and more capable, you still have quite a bit to work to do to get various functions of “his” abilities to work. You can just click a button or two to get Cortana or Siri installed on on your Android phone, also free of charge. When Mycroft reaches that milestone, (installation without having to do much on a command line or terminal work), then this AI will have reached parity with Microsoft’s or Apple’s technology and ease of installation. So far, none of these “other” AI’s have quite reached that level. However they are open source (created by volunteers and designed to always be free, like most Linux), and hold a lot of promise for the future.If you feel you can deal with the level of work on a Linux terminal which is required, you are going to be quite happy with Mycroft.
Mycroft on Ubuntu
Proverbs 13:7 – There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing:
there is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches.
(King James version)
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