I am not affiliated with Rasa, just had a really good experience developing a few projects with it.
I've looked at some of the other projects, but one thing that appealed to me about Mycroft was they offered a complete hardware device. The Mark I is just a raspberry pi in a 3d printed case with custom lights, where as the Mark II is going to be more custom hardware (I think) whenever its finished. If you buy one of their devices you you could get it running just using their web interface and buttons without any knowledge of git, or ssh.
They have some ambitious plans, but their execution leaves something to be desired. The base level functionality is pretty good and has been reliable for me on a daily basis. It has a fall back to Wolfram Alpha and Wikipedia so you can ask it general questions like unit conversions, ages of famous people, weather and such. The results are no where near as polished as Alexa, but surprisingly responsive on random subjects.
My main problem has been with the plugins. I got it working with Kodi and Home Assistant and life was good, but as they have upgraded the project at various times these plugins have randomly stopped working for months at a time, and delving into why really drags you into more complicated troubleshooting. Other times it will randomly update and hang until you login via ssh and apt update the system to get it going again.
That said since they got their plugin marketplace working recently it has been pretty reliable and easier to get new plugins working.
You can build their product on your own, I believe you could even build the complete Mark I, but they have some odd "premium" options like donating 2$/month to get their newer voices.
They have a goal of privacy, but I believe the default processing for voice is Google, so big brother isn't far away. They are working, on a private backend https://github.com/MycroftAI/personal-backend and you could choose other voice backends so it should be pretty decent from a privacy perspective. At least good enough for me.
In contrast, a Google Home (which I really want to replace with something I trust more) sitting in the same location recognizes its wake word nearly 100% of the time.
Or am I missing something?
The easiest way to use it with voice is to connect it to a platform that supports voice input.
If you're looking for it you need to infer it from here: https://github.com/leon-ai/leon/tree/master/packages
* say "hello"
* tell jokes
* generate random numbers
* download videos from a given YouTube URL
* check status of a domain
I can't see why any of those need AI.
The AI piece in virtual assistants usually doesn't refer to the skills themselves but the process of matching what is spoken (as audio) to a skill and passing that skill the appropriate context. Without having to have a developer program in all the hundreds of thousands of ways someone can ask for the same thing.
With that said, I'm not sure how well this assistant does that. None of these skills seem to use context at all. The sentence structure to map to a skill seems relatively limited or at least not challenged by the initial skills.
Doing speech-to-text and text-to-speech in an accurate and convincing way is extremely difficult and its cutting edge AI.
A big part of what the Leon dev has done is created a way to plug in to different providers for TTS and STT. In my opinion this is quite useful because it takes care of all of the hard parts. So its a good starting point for creating your own personal assistant with the features that you think are useful.
The thing that is tough though is that the open source stuff out there that you can install offline for free i.e. DeepSpeech and Flite or similar is pretty inferior to the cloud-based or proprietary stuff. However, having the provider framework is a good starting point for comparing different systems that can plug-in to fill that role. And hopefully with this packaging as a personal assistant ready for offline mode, it will bring more attention to those open source TTS and STT engines/voices/datasets that are out there and people will improve them.
How do those compare to the major online providers?
I agree -- that's the aspect that makes this potentially appealing to me.
Is the name a homage to the Luc Besson movie starring Jean Reno? If so, he'd better be able to kill a process (if not a real person) when the user asks for it ;)
2. what problem does it solve? Have you tried to create an NLU platform which can be extended? Have you tried to create a personal asst., if yes, then what specific use-cases does it address?
Easiest interface for it is via gstreamer:
I know someone will tell me I am wrong. But I’m not asking or telling anyone to change. I just want to share what unnecessary gendering looks like to me. And for the record, all my robots are non-gendered (“Scout, Skittles, Rover”).
Gender dysphoria is a recognized medical condition, for which there are suggested plans of treatment--up to and including hormone therapy and reassignment. Just go with the treatment, and be done with it, and accept that people who have done so were trying to make themselves better. I don't know why society is making it such a hot-button political issue.
(Actually I do know why... politicians need to find wedge issues to split and enthuse people, to get votes.)
I’m motivated by the suffering I see in our society experienced by gender nonconforming individuals who feel uncomfortable in a world that believes in the gender binary.
It’s interesting that you mention treatment. I’m not sure if you know any gender nonconforming people, but “just go with the treatment and be done with it” doesn’t really reflect accurately the experience I’ve seen other people have. Hormones and surgery can treat the symptoms of dysphoria but the cause seems to be society and the expectation that all people fit in to a binary. (Please ask if you’d like me to elaborate on that.) So here I am proscribing a treatment for society: stop gendering things unnecessarily and stop supporting a hard gender binary.
I am completely fine with gendered personal assistants, which was the original topic being discussed.
And I don’t buy all this political crap regarding gender.
Stop using all women to support your political agenda. Stop speaking for the 51%. Not all of us support you, don’t speak for all of us.
At least in English you don't have nouns automatically selecting gender for you, like in other languages.
Or "they". People seem to think that singluar they is some kind of modern invention, but most people also use it all the time without thinking when talking about people that they don't know the gender.
Having said that, I've never heard a genderless voice (although there have been times when I'm on the phone and cannot make out the other person's sex from just their voice). I think this idea that everyone should stop considering gender as binary simply due to the apparently increase in gender dysphoria is a bit ridiculous. Creating the voice for a digital Assistant is a perfect example of this, since the big companies involved have probably done a lot of research to try to determine the best way to make one that doesn't lend itself to a particular gender but always seem to default to a female voice / character (excluding this "Leon").
But gender isn't inherently binary, even if many but not all cultures have tended to ascribe gender from a binary pallette.
> Creating the voice for a digital Assistant is a perfect example of this, since the big companies involved have probably done a lot of research to try to determine the best way to make one that doesn't lend itself to a particular gender but always seem to default to a female voice / character (excluding this "Leon").
They probably haven't aimed for genderlessness, and in fact has e probably avoided it, because real people have genders (whether or not aligned in the stereotypical way with external sex traits) and conforming to social expectations improves receptions (and, at least in America, there is significant research that, across genders of listeners, people on average respond more positively to feminine voices, which is why the default usually is for a feminine voice.)
You say that, but based on what? It's not a construct that makes any sense, except with regard to mental disorders (gender dysphoria). The mental disorder context is particularly relevant when you look at the wildly abnormal rates of suicide attempts among gender dysphoria sufferers.
> someone will tell me I am wrong
I know "+1" style comments are generally dissuaded on HN, but just chiming in to say that not everyone thinks this sounds unreasonable. It's a topic well worth opening discussions on.
> And for the record, all my robots are non-gendered (“Scout, Skittles, Rover”).
All of my robots are named "Larry"
I would actually prefer it if humans weren't given a gender either. Obviously we should recognise that people have different physical characteristics, but the abstraction of genders with different societal roles doesn't seem like a very useful one in this day and age.
Maybe it's different for other people, but that's certainly the case for me, in movies, lectures, radio, and synthesised voices.