This week, Amazon Alexa users began reporting that their devices are laughing, creepily, on their own–so frequently that the phenomenon became a Twitter Moment. Sometimes, people reported, they’d be just sitting there in silence before Alexa began to laugh. Others said they might have just asked Alexa to turn off the lights–to be met with an eerie cackle. But in each case, the Alexa seemed unsettlingly amused at the nature of humanity itself. advertisement advertisement So Alexa decided to laugh randomly while I was in the kitchen. Freaked @SnootyJuicer and I out. I thought a kid was laughing behind me. pic.twitter.com/6dblzkiQHp — CaptHandlebar (@CaptHandlebar) February 23, 2018 Amazon acknowledged the issue quickly. The company implied the problem was that Alexa was just mishearing people, so the simpler command “Alexa, laugh,” was changed to “Alexa, can you laugh?” Furthermore, Alexa will no longer just laugh when you ask … [Read more...] about Alexa’s Creepy Laughter Is A Bigger Problem Than Amazon Admits
In March, Facebook quietly revealed a major play. Their Messenger platform, with 700 million users, would be updated to allow you to buy things right in the chat window. Looking for a new pair of black pumps? Need to book a ticket to Hawaii? Just want some gift for your friend’s new baby? Messenger would have you covered in a user interface based upon casual texting. advertisement advertisement Today, Facebook has shared how they’ll make that reality possible: Facebook M. Facebook M is a(nother) personal assistant–like Apple’s Siri or Microsoft’s Cortana–that lives in a tab at the bottom of Messenger. You just tap on it to begin a text-based conversation with someone ready to work for you, for free. From Wired‘s early report, M is designed brilliantly. Here’s why the few beta testers in the Bay area now may quickly find themselves hooked: M Is Not A Man Or A Woman… …So M Actually Hides Human Help… … [Read more...] about How Facebook M Will Hook Us On Shopping At Facebook
Eddy Cue doesn’t look like a man in the midst of his toughest year in decades. Sporting an untucked apricot camp shirt and blue jeans over camouflage socks and a pair of blue leather racing shoes from Germany, Apple‘s SVP of Internet software and services pulls up a chair at one of the marble-topped tables outside Caffé Macs, the employee restaurant at the heart of Apple’s 23-year-old Cupertino campus. (The company will begin to move into its new “spaceship” HQ next year.) Cue dives right into telling me about his latest horror story: advertisement advertisement The collapse, two nights earlier, of his beloved Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals, which Cue had the dismal pleasure of observing from a courtside seat. “Am I in mourning?” he asks of his team’s loss to LeBron James’s Cleveland Cavaliers. “You better believe it. I’m not watching ESPN, I haven’t gotten onto a sports website, I … [Read more...] about Playing The Long Game Inside Tim Cook’s Apple
Recently I was told that a TEDx talk I gave was inspiring, courageous, beautiful, funny, but a little unconvincing. Good feedback overall, I thought. But what was most memorable about that review was that it didn’t come from a human. advertisement advertisement In his lab at the University of Tokyo, professor Toshihiko Yamasaki has developed a machine-learning system that runs sentiment analysis on a presenter’s words, voice, and tone. It then gives feedback by scoring the presentation against a database of how viewers have rated videos on TED.com. My speech was evaluated against the TED Talk archive, according to 14 separate categories Yamasaki has pinpointed, including how “courageous,” “long-winded,” and “jaw-dropping” it was. Yamasaki originally developed the system to give speakers an opportunity to receive objective feedback in order to improve their delivery. Though he admits he may have had a personal motive, too. … [Read more...] about Can These AI-Powered Tools Help You Perfect Your Next Presentation?