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Columbia E'Ship

Panel Discussion on “Smart Speakers and Journalism”



Voice assistants are changing the way people search for and consume content. By one estimate, half of the adults in the US make use of voice interfaces – for now, mostly on their smartphones. But with the steady improvement of voice recognition, smart speakers like Amazon’s Echo, Google Home, Apple’s HomePod constitute new platforms for accessing information. How will journalism fare in this new ecosystem? Obviously, a direct reading of news stories written for the print or the web will tax the capabilities of current speech synthesis – not to mention the patience of a listener. In this discussion, we will get an overview of the current voice experience ecosystem and hear about the voice promised land: why voice interfaces are so powerful and alluring and what the future will look like. We will also hear about first hand experiences from folks at The Washington Post and NPR.