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Mycroft AI, Inc. is pleased to announce that we are organizing a team to pursue the $5M IBM Watson AI XPRIZE.  Mycroft is a Techstars company based at the Sprint Accelerator that is partnered with Canonical Ltd.(Ubuntu), VocaliD and Lucid Labs to build the world’s first open source artificial intelligence platform for the connected home. This past year we ran the most successful Kickstarter in Kansas history and we are the first Kansas company to get into the prestigious Techstars program.

The IBM Watson AI XPRIZE is a $5M competition challenging teams from around the world to develop and demonstration how humans can collaborate with thinking machines to tackle the world’s grand challenges.  The prize was announced on February 17, 2016 and the wining teams will take the TED stage in 2020 to demonstrate their achievements.

We are committed to the open source ethos and have already released the Adapt intent parser and the Mimic text to speech engine.  We plan to release Mycroft Core in April.  In keeping with our commitment to open source, we will donate any proceeds from the XPRIZE to open source projects based on the wishes of our developer community.

To win the XPRIZE competition we’ve set an ambitious goal.  Our team will create an artificial intelligence platform that interacts with people so naturally that when people speak to it they’ll be unable to tell of they’re talking to a machine or to a person.

There are a number of technology advances needed to achieve this goal. We need to improve the Mimic TTS engine to create voices that have natural prosody, cadence and tone.  Our Adapt intent parser will need a number of deep learning modules to better process and respond to language.  Finally, our technology will need to quickly translate human speech into machine readable data.

To seed the XPRIZE effort we are providing $250,000 in resources.  We’ve assigned machine learning expert Jonathan D’Orleans to lead the team toward our first milestone; an open source speech to text engine called OpenSTT.

In the next several weeks Jonathan will guide the community to construct the first iteration of an open source speech to text engine that’s both accurate and fast.  We are looking for developers, students, researchers and hackers who are interested in artificial intelligence and in donating their time and effort to the open source community.  Interested contributors can learn more at http://openstt.org.

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