Matthew HughesFormer TNW Reporter
Matthew Hughes is a journalist from Liverpool, England. His interests include security, startups, food, and storytelling. Follow him on Twi Matthew Hughes is a journalist from Liverpool, England. His interests include security, startups, food, and storytelling. Follow him on Twitter.
For almost forty years, the default way people interacted with computers was by clicking or selecting a pre-defined input, using either a keyboard or a mouse. But now, in 2017, things are changing. There’s been a renaissance in chatbots, which have evolved from being a ‘toy’, to being used for serious things – like applying for asylum, or appealing parking tickets.
At the same time, it’s increasingly common to control computers and mobile devices through voice commands. Most phones ship with a built-in voice assistant – like Siri, Cortana, Google Now, and Bixy. The same is true in the home, with the spread of Google Home and Amazon Echo.
The problem is that making smart, interactive assistants for these platforms is pretty tricky. Even if you’re building something on top of Amazon’s pre-existing tech, it takes time and effort.
Now, it’s about to get a lot easier, thanks to the California-based NoHold.
We’ve written about it before. Its flagship product, Albert, allows you to upload a body of structured text and transform it into a chatbot. So, if you were to upload a book on C++ programming, it would create an artificial C++ expert, which you could ask questions.
Now, it’s released a connector for Amazon’s Alexa. So, you can now grill that same C++ chatbot through your Amazon Echo.
NoHold have a plan for small businesses, as well as a free tier. NoHold envisions people using Albert to create guides to their home, which can then be accessed through Amazon Echos on the premises. Which, to be fair, would be amazing for Airbnb guests who want to find out how the coffee machine works, or how to turn on the hot water, but don’t want to trouble the host.
In a statement, Diego Ventura, CEO and Founder of NoHold said, “I am looking forward to the day when everybody with a QuickStart account and an Amazon Echo will be able to expand Alexa’s capabilities in minutes without having to be a programmer. With a bit of luck, that moment is around the corner.”
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