Tencent’s new AI assistant to take on Siri and Alexa

In addition to Siri, Cortana, and Alexa, a new voice will soon join the personal assistant arena.

China’s tech giant Tencent on Tuesday unveiled its Alexa-like digital assistant “Tencent Dingdang”. It is capable of voice interaction, reporting the weather, and setting daily schedules.

The new Dingdang can interact with users on the weather, news, matches, music, and location based services. It is highly accurate and is able to give corresponding replies within a second when asked about soccer matches, Chinese media reported.

Tencent will integrate Dingdang into both its apps and gadgets.

So far, Tencent is the company behind some of the most used apps in China. According to Tencent’s 2016 report, its messaging app WeChat has as many as 889 million monthly active users. Similar to Amazon’s Alexa, Dingdang can be embedded into gadgets like smartwatches, robots, and smartphones.

Dingdang is Tencent’s latest efforts to get itself prepared for the Artificial Intelligence (AI) era. The company welcomed former Baidu Big Data Lab head Zhang Tong last month to lead its AI lab consisting of more than 50 AI scientists and over 200 engineers. Tencent’s AI lab focuses on four areas namely computer vision, voice recognition, natural language processing, and machine learning.

Its AI Go program Yueyi won the championship title in the 10th UEC Cup Computer Go in Japan late last month.

Domestically, Tencent competes with Baidu and Alibaba in AI. In January, Baidu’s AI robot Xiaodu beat top-notch brainy intellectuals in a face recognition competition during a popular domestic talent reality television show called Super Brain. Alibaba’s cloud computing arm Alibaba Cloud earlier this month announced that it has upgraded its machine learning platform PAI.

(Top photo from Pixabay.com)

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