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Hey Cyba

Hey Cyba
The Inner Workings of a Virtual Personal Assistant

  • Date Published: July 2021
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108972369


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About the Authors
  • Recent developments in artificial intelligence, especially neural network and deep learning technology, have led to rapidly improving performance in voice assistants such as Siri and Alexa. Over the next few years, capability will continue to improve and become increasingly personalised. Today's voice assistants will evolve into virtual personal assistants firmly embedded within our everyday lives. Told through the view of a fictitious personal assistant called Cyba, this book provides an accessible but detailed overview of how a conversational voice assistant works, especially how it understands spoken language, manages conversations, answers questions and generates responses. Cyba explains through examples and diagrams the neural network technology underlying speech recognition and synthesis, natural language understanding, knowledge representation, conversation management, language translation and chatbot technology. Cyba also explores the implications of this rapidly evolving technology for security, privacy and bias, and gives a glimpse of future developments. Cyba's website can be found at

    • Explores the capabilities and limits of AI technology
    • Comprehensive, accessible explanation of the full range of technologies deployed in a conversational voice assistant
    • As a former member of the Siri development team and a top researcher, the author offers unrivalled expertise
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Hey Cyba is based on the author's long history of research and his rich experiences of developing various voice assistant systems. With the current rapid progress and wide deployment of AI-based voice assistant systems all over the world, the publication is very timely, and the book has a very unique and interesting writing style. I strongly recommend it to anyone interested in this area.' Sadaoki Furui, Toyota Technological Institute at Chicago

    'Hey Cyba, written by one of the giants in the field of man machine interfaces, provides an in depth guide to the workings and future of conversational personal assistants. Written in the first person style of the computer itself this is a highly engaging, informative and authoritative read.' Hermann Hauser, Amadeus Capital Partners

    'The book to introduce the technology behind our voice assistants to everyone. Voice assistants are among the most complex AI/ML (artificial intelligence/machine learning) systems. Hey, Cyba manages to present this complex AI/ML system in one easy-to-read narrative covering each aspect of the voice assistant in just the right depth. I wonder whether there is anyone but Steve with the deep knowledge and academic and industry experience required to write such a book.' Björn Hoffmeister, Director of Machine Learning at Amazon/Alexa

    'This enjoyable text deftly illuminates the technology behind a common experience … Highly recommended.' M. Mounts, Choice Connect

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    Product details

    • Date Published: July 2021
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108972369
    • length: 254 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 153 x 16 mm
    • weight: 0.39kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. May I introduce myself?
    2. My inner workings
    3. How my brain works
    4. Knowing what I know
    5. What did you say?
    6. What does that mean?
    7. What should I say next?
    8. Listen to me
    9. How do you say that in…?
    10. Let's chat
    11. Can you trust me?
    12. When all is quiet
    13. Future upgrades and beyond

  • Resources for

    Hey Cyba

    Steve Young

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  • Author

    Steve Young, University of Cambridge
    Steve Young has more than 40 years of research experience in speech processing and AI. He founded a number of speech technology startups including Entropic acquired by Microsoft in 1999 and VocalIQ acquired by Apple in 2015, following which he worked in the Apple Siri Development team. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society, the Royal Academy of Engineering, the IET and the IEEE. He holds an IEEE Signal Processing Society Technical Achievement Award, the ISCA Medal for Scientific Achievement, a European Signal Processing Society Technical Achievement Award and the IEEE James L. Flanagan Speech and Audio Processing Award.

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