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Say “Privet” to Alice, Yandex’s intelligent voice assistant

Say “Privet” to Alice, Yandex’s intelligent voice assistant
Yandex, a Moscow-based technology company that builds intelligent products and services powered by machine learning, has launched Alice, the first conversational AI assistant that speaks excellent Russian, and not restricted to predefined scenarios.
Yandex, a Moscow-based technology company that builds intelligent products and services powered by machine learning, has launched Alice, the first conversational AI assistant that speaks excellent Russian, and not restricted to predefined scenarios.

Alice integrates multiple services such as search, news, weather, music, and maps, to help users accomplish tasks like finding information online or recommending places to eat. This list will expand to other Yandex services, such as Taxi, as well as third-party products and services.

Using deep neural networks trained on massive datasets, Alice allows users to interact like they would do with another person. Alice has advanced understanding of context, so when a user asks a question like “Where can I grab a coffee nearby?” the assistant recommends a local café. If the user responds, “Great, how can I get there?” Alice provides directions on Yandex.Maps.

Alice provides human-like responses showcasing its superior Russian language skills, a distinct personality with a sense of humor, and an ability to understand incomplete phrases and questions. Furthermore, it integrates the ability to carry free-flowing “chit-chat” conversations with users that can surprise and delight them.

“We wanted Alice to interact with users more like a human, so that users don’t need to adapt their requests,” said Denis Filippov, head of Speech Technologies at Yandex. “While developing Alice, we leveraged our speech technologies, which currently provide the world’s most accurate Russian language recognition. Based on word error rate (WER) measurements, Alice demonstrates near-human levels of speech recognition accuracy.”

Alice’s voice recognition and synthesis rely on SpeechKit, Yandex’s proprietary speech recognition toolkit. Alice is now available in Russian in the Yandex Search app on iOS and Android, as well as in a beta version of Yandex Assistant for Windows. Alice will also soon be integrated in Yandex.Browser, followed by other Yandex products.
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