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An App that Puts Siri to Shame

Mohseni, Alex MD

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Emergency Medicine News: May 2016 - Volume 38 - Issue 5 - p 17
doi: 10.1097/01.EEM.0000483181.73598.3b

    We may still be a few decades away from so-called technological singularity, the point at which artificial intelligence (AI) is capable of self-improvement, but that isn't to say our current day-to-day lives can't benefit from the incredible progress AI has made recently.

    Unless you are computer scientist, inventor, and futurist Ray Kurzweil, you will be thoroughly impressed with SoundHound's Hound, an incredible AI app that, in many ways, puts Apple's Siri and Google Now to shame. Similar to these digital personal assistants, Hound listens to your questions and commands via your mobile phone and proffers responses. But Hound takes a technological leap by easily handling higher-order questions and discussions.

    Hound can respond to complex queries with multiple parameters, like, “What Asian restaurants are less than five miles away, rated at least four stars, open today, and kid-friendly?” Hound can then do follow-up questions to refine the responses: “Narrow down to just Vietnamese restaurants.”

    The app can handle queries with complex calculations, such as, “What is the monthly payment on a $500,000 loan with $50,000 down at four percent for 20 years,” to which you can follow up with, “What if I pay it over 30 years?” to compare.

    Use Hound to help keep track of your calorie intake by asking questions like, “How many calories in an eight-ounce steak, a baked potato, and four ounces of broccoli?” You can also translate phrases on the fly, play or identify almost any song, and order an Uber.

    If you get really bored, Hound will also tell you jokes and play hangman with you. The one missing piece, at least for iPhone users, is the ability to call Hound by holding down the home button. Nonetheless, we're still one step closer to the singularity.

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