German Nonprofit LAION Launches BUD-E, An Open Voice Assistant Project


There have been numerous attempts at creating open source AI-powered voice assistants, but the development has been slow. Large-scale Artificial Intelligence Open Network (LAION), a German nonprofit, has announced a new initiative called BUD-E. This project aims to build a “fully open” voice assistant that can run on consumer hardware.

Key Takeaway

German nonprofit LAION is spearheading the development of BUD-E, an open voice assistant project aimed at creating a natural and engaging conversational experience.

BUD-E: A Voice Assistant with a Difference

Wieland Brendel, a fellow at the Ellis Institute and a contributor to BUD-E, highlighted the need for an open assistant with an extensible architecture to leverage emerging GenAI technologies. The goal is to create a voice assistant that feels natural to humans and mimics human speech patterns, providing a basis for engaging conversations.

Collaboration and Roadmap

BUD-E is a collaborative effort with the Ellis Institute in Tübingen, tech consultancy Collabora, and the Tübingen AI Center. The project aims to integrate “emotional intelligence” into the voice assistant and enable it to handle conversations involving multiple speakers simultaneously.

Current Status and Future Plans

BUD-E is currently available for download and installation on Ubuntu or Windows PC, with macOS compatibility in the works. However, it is still in the early stages of development. LAION has assembled an MVP using open models from various sources, but the experience is not yet optimized.

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