Open source AI voice assistant takes aim at Amazon and Google

Mycroft is pitching its new platform as more secure and customizable than voice assistants currently on the market.
By Diana Manos
01:34 PM
AI voice assistant

Mycrosft's open source Mark II voice assistant will be available next month. 

Mycroft, the Kansas City-based voice platform company, announced an open source voice-activated private assistant, The Mark II, which the company claimed is an alternative to Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.


Mark II is a speaker designed for everyday users with varying levels of technical expertise, Mycroft said.

The company also touted Mark II’s privacy, customization, user agency and open data capabilities as differentiating its technology for the more entrenched voice assistants.


Artificial intelligence voice technologies are promising to change the dynamics of how we interface with machines and, consequently, how humans interact with each other. Voice technologies from Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft and others are beginning to take hold and expand in the consumer market, with extensive development underway to bring this technology fully into healthcare.  

Some frontrunning hospitals are already forging how patients experience healthcare with voice AI. Commonwealth Care Alliance chief of clinical innovation John Loughnane, MD, said the industry is on the verge of voice technologies that can be used to tailor individualized care regimens.

Indeed, there are still some growing pains to be endured. Speaking at the Boston Children's Voice Health Summit in October, Sara Holoubek, CEO of Luminary Labs, called 2018, the year of the voice tech pilot. "We're in this extensive period of trial and error," she said.


From Mycroft: “Voice is coming to every device, every platform and every household globally. The technology has a growing presence within the home as an AI assistant. This calls for voice to be flexible, customizable, vendor neutral, and privacy focused; things that the proprietary voice assistants on the market today don’t offer.”

A Mycroft spokeswoman said the Mark II will be available in December and the company will officially launch the system at at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) next year, to be held Jan. 8-11 in Las Vegas. 


Focus on Artificial Intelligence

In November, we take a deep dive into AI and machine learning.

Diana Manos is a Washington, D.C.-area freelance writer specializing in healthcare, wellness and technology. 
Twitter: @Diana_Manos
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