via, press release

Yandex Launches Alice – The First AI Assistant Designed For The Russian Market

Yandex (NASDAQ:YNDX), a technology company that builds intelligent products and services powered by machine learning, launches Alice, the first conversational intelligent assistant that is not restricted to a set of predefined scenarios. Alice integrates multiple services to help users efficiently accomplish tasks such as finding information online, recommending places to eat, providing weather forecasts, and supplying directions.
Using deep neural networks trained on massive datasets, Alice allows users to interact like they would with another person. Alice has advanced understanding of context, so when a user asks a question like “Where can I grab a coffee nearby?” the assistant recommends a local café. If the user responds, “Great, how can I get there?” Alice provides directions on Yandex.Maps.
The new Yandex AI assistant provides human-like responses showcasing its superior Russian language skills, a distinct personality with a sense of humor, and an ability to understand incomplete phrases and questions. Unlike major voice assistants that are limited to predefined scenarios, it integrates the ability to carry free-flowing “chit-chat” conversations with users that can surprise and delight them.
“We wanted Alice to interact with users more like a human, so that users don’t need to adapt their requests,” says 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.”
Alice’s voice recognition and synthesis rely on SpeechKit, Yandex’s proprietary speech recognition toolkit. Currently, Alice integrates Yandex services, such as Search, News, Weather, Music, and Maps. This list will expand to other Yandex services, such as Taxi, as well as third-party products and services.
Alice is now available in Russian in the Yandex Search app on iOS and Android, as well as in a beta version of Yandex Assistant for Windows. Alice will also soon be integrated in Yandex.Browser, followed by other Yandex products.