Skip to main content

Apple’s Siri Disagrees With A Weatherman – On Live TV…And Other Small Business Tech News

By December 16, 2019No Comments

(This post originally appeared on Forbes)

Here are five things in technology that happened this past week and how they affect your business. Did you miss them?

1 — Siri disagreed with a weatherman during a live forecast.

This past week, Tomasz Schafernaker—a meteorologist with BBC—was wearing his Apple Watch and delivering a live forecast when suddenly Siri spoke up. While Schafernaker shared information about a snowstorm that occurred recently in Minneapolis, Siri gave an opposing forecast, discrediting his delivery immediately. Although the meteorologist attempted to continue after the comedic snafu, Schafermaker found himself as the punchline of his co-host’s jokes for the remainder of the broadcast. It is unclear what prompted Siri but—regardless—BBC and viewers laughed the moment off while having some fun at the meteorologist’s expense. (Source: PCMag)

Why this is important for your business:

It’s a funny, yet ominous story. Siri and other voice enabled applications are already starting to insert themselves into our conversations. Soon enough they will be interacting with our customers in the same way – and it’s possible with the wrong information. Embrace this technology, but make sure to keep it in check.

2 — Facebook built a chatbot to help employees deflect criticism over the holidays

The New York Times reported this past week that Facebook has rolled out a new tool named “Liam Bot” which has been designed to help employees through difficult discussions regarding the many controversies the social media giant has been facing. The artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot was built by Facebook’s public relations team—although the company has not specifically disclosed why—and provides answers that coincide with public statements dealing with areas such as election meddling and free speech, to name a few. Liam Bot was first tested this past spring and was given to Facebook employees just before the Thanksgiving holiday. (Source: The Verge)

Why this is important for your business:

This is another great example of how AI technology can deliver conversational bots that will help solve problems and answer customer questions. Coming soon: easy to use tools that will help small businesses configure similar chatbots. Which brings me to….

3 — Sequoia Capital leads a $65 million round for the sales conversation analytics startup, Gong.

Gong—an Israel-based conversation analytics startup—recently raised $65 million during a round that was lead by Sequoia Capital, bringing their total funding to $134 million. Gong builds speech recognition technology that helps sales representatives gain access to details regarding their conversations and interactions with their customers—in real-time—by taking recorded phone calls and analyzing them through tracking keywords/topics used or discussed during the conversation. The company plans on hiring 150 more employees by the end of next year, as well as save much of the funding in order to secure their future. (Source: CTech)

Why this is important for your business:

See what I mean? Gong is just a number of startups building tools to help businesses of all sizes configure their own AI-driven chatbots to help with sales, service and marketing. Soon enough you won’t need to be as big as Facebook to have your own AI software that will enable better customer engagement and increase productivity.

4 — Small Business Saturday has set a new online sales record.

Records were set this past weekend during Small Business Saturday, with $3.6 billion dollars being made in online sales. Shoppers—more and more—have been taking advantage of deals occurring the day after Black Friday each year, even resulting in increased sales leading up to Cyber Monday. According to Adobe, $68.2 billion were spent solely online during the entire month of November. (Source: Fox Business)

Why this is important for your business:

If you’re a brick and mortar merchant, pay attention. Your in-store sales have hopefully been buffeted by Small Business Saturday. But did you ignore e-commerce opportunities? If you did, then don’t let it happen again next year. Invest in your website.

5— Microsoft’s Seeing AI app helps the blind in five more languages.

Microsoft recently updated their Microsoft Seeing AI app to support Dutch, French, German, Japanese, and Spanish, providing the opportunity for many more people to interpret facial expressions, read signs, and overall have support for other daily tasks. Although Seeing AI is free, there are still many individuals without access, primarily in areas that are highly populated, such as India and China. Some other areas of concern regarding the app include the non-existence of Android support, and the fact that iPhones and iPads are difficult to afford in many parts of the world. (Source: Engadget)

Why this is important for your business:

So obviously this technology still has some ways to go. But think of the help it could provide to your employees or contractors around the world who suffer from visual impairments.

Skip to content