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Voice Computing with Alexa and Google Home. Implications for Libraries
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Voice Computing with Alexa and Google Home. Implications for Libraries​
Recorded on: 2018-10-16

The Amazon Echo, with its “Alexa” voice personality is one of the most popular smart speakers available. Google has “Google Assistant,” Apple “Siri,” and Microsoft “Cortana.” These voice-controlled systems can do many things, such as play music, audiobooks, radio stations, podcasts, answer factual questions, tell stories, and control devices in your home (thermostats, lights, and more). This technology is improving quickly and will be included in many more devices in the near future — at home, at work, and in your car.
These voice-controlled products enable better access for people in a variety of situations, such as people with vision problems, mobility problems, and situations where hands-free computing is useful.

Public, school, and academic libraries are experimenting with voice computing technologies by offering smart speakers for loan, creating “Alexa skills” about library programs, hosting workshops about smart speakers, and more.

We’ll cover the following:
1. What is a voice computing?
2. How does it work?
3. Examples of use
4. Why it matters
5. Where is it in the Hype Cycle?
6. Is it likely to be passing fad or an important trend?
7. Who are some of the key players? (organizations, companies)
8. What are some ethical concerns?
9. How might it help individuals?
10. How might it help people with disabilities?
11. Can it help bridge the digital divide?
12. How are libraries currently using voice computing and how might they use it in the future?
13. How might we experiment with it in library settings?
14. Which time frame applies?

  • It’s a bit far off in the future, but good to understand.
  • It’s coming soon, important to learn more now.
  • It’s already here, and worth experimenting with in libraries.

15. Resources for learning more

• Become familiar with the basics of voice computing platforms.
• Understand why voice computing is positioned to become an important paradigm
change for more user-friendly and accessible computing.
• Get inspired to include voice computing in library services and events.
• Continue your learning with a bibliography of best sources for learning more.

Note:  This webinar s an updated version of a previous webinar called “Smart Digital Assistants: An Introduction to Voice Computing.” This one contains new material about this rapidly changing topic.  It is part of a series about specific emerging technologies and their implications for libraries by Nicole Hennig, author of Keeping Up with Emerging Technologies: Best Practices for Information Professionals.

Presented by:  Nicole Henning


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