by Andrew Cochran

BBC News is offering optional extras to go along with its regular newscasts on smart speakers. The service uses AI speech recognition software and other natural language processing abilities (NLP) to provide choices for greater depth on certain stories in any audio newscast.

Image: BBC

Options can include hearing the full length of interviews abbreviated in the news bulletin, an in-depth report or related portions from a BBC News program, or selections from the BBC archives.

The extra content is offered when the regular news story plays. They can resume the newscast line-up whenever they want with another voice command. Users navigate the choices from an audio menu, using simple voice commands.

BBC expects about half of its audio stories will have extra content available. They say a typical newscast has about six stories.