A customer uses the Yandex.Taxi online app on a smartphone to scan for available taxi cabs in Moscow, Russia

Andrey Rudakov | Bloomberg | Getty Images

A customer uses the Yandex.Taxi online app on a smartphone to scan for available taxi cabs in Moscow, Russia

The Russian technology company Yandex has launched an artificial intelligence (AI) assistant called “Alice”.

Yandex, Russia’s largest search engine, said in a press release Tuesday that Alice is the first conversational online assistant, possessing “near-human levels of speech.”

“We wanted Alice to interact with users more like a human, so that users don’t need to adapt their requests,” said Denis Filippov, head of speech technologies at Yandex.

“In developing Alice, we leveraged our speech technologies, which currently provide the world’s most accurate Russian language recognition. Based on word error rate (WER) measurements, Alice demonstrates near-human levels of speech recognition accuracy,” Filippov added.

Yandex claimed in a blog post Tuesday that the digital assistant’s advanced level of context allows users to carry out a more relaxed style of conversation.

“For instance, when a user asks Alice, ‘What’s the weather in Moscow?’ and then follows with a question in slang asking, ‘And what about Peter?’, Alice understands the intent and provides the weather forecast for St. Petersburg,” the post read.

Alice’s voice recognition and synthesis rely on SpeechKit, Yandex’s proprietary speech recognition software.

Alice will lift its information from Yandex’s suite of services that includes taxis, shopping, payments, music, news, weather, maps and education.

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