Articles about alexa

Smart TV privacy issues

2001 set the standard for the next 50 years of hard (and some soft) sci-fi

Finally, after almost half a century of waiting, you can welcome the mildly homicidal artificial intelligence HAL 9000 into your home. If you want. Few of the other predictions of tomorrow's world made in Stanley Kubrick's psychedelic space epic 2001: A Space Odyssey – marking its 50th anniversary at the start of April – have …
Michael Moran, 4 Apr 2018

Hey Alexa, Siri and Cortana: Cisco says you’re bad at business

VID Cisco will shortly give the world a voice assistant it believes has a shot at making life uncomfortable for Siri, Cortana and Alexa in the office. The company’s effort won’t be a general-purpose bot. Instead the company plans to make it a part of its Spark collaboration portfolio and have it do things like place calls, find …
Pull the plug

Alexa muted, Twilio taps out, and Bitbucket kicks the, er, bucket amid AWS data center hiccup

Problems at an Amazon Web Service data center in Virginia today are being blamed for outages affecting some major websites and online services today. Amazon said its highly popular US-East region has been dropping packets all morning, US West Coast time, thanks to an unidentified connectivity problem with Direct Connect. That' …
Shaun Nichols, 2 Mar 2018
Siri logo

Voice assistants are always listening. So why won't they call police if they hear a crime?

If you saw someone being assaulted, you'd probably whip out your phone and dial for help. But when one of our newly ubiquitous devices hears a crime, it does nothing. If Alexa or Google Assistant or Siri hears an assault, or a rape, they sit there waiting for their cues to act. But that's a load of malarkey. Listening for a …
Mark Pesce, 26 Feb 2018
Robot maid

Talk down to Siri like it's a mere servant – your safety demands it

In the middle of the night, the 83-year-old woman received a call. A caller identifying himself as a policeman angrily reported that her grandson – identified by name – had landed in jail. He'd hit a policeman while driving and TXTing. The policeman said they needed $4,000 in bail – immediately. The old woman hung up, but the …
Mark Pesce, 12 Feb 2018
Alexa photo via Shutterstock

When you play this song backwards, you can hear Satan. Play it forwards, and it hijacks Siri, Alexa

Computer science boffins affiliated with IBM and universities in China and the United States have devised a way to issue covert commands to voice-based AI software – like Apple Siri, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Microsoft Cortana – by encoding them in popular songs. They refer to these tweaked tunes, which issue mostly …
Thomas Claburn, 30 Jan 2018

Cortana. Whatever happened to world domination?

Analysis Somewhat harshly, Microsoft's Cortana was pronounced dead this week. Torn between wholesaling and retailing Cortana, Microsoft ended up doing a bit of both, and failed badly. It's also torn between what the brand actually means – an Alexa voice assistant, or an IBM Watson-like brand for analytics, covering a multitude of …
Andrew Orlowski, 10 Jan 2018
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Tech giants at war: Google pulls plug on YouTube in Amazon kit

Google is trying to stop Amazon Echo Show devices from streaming YouTube videos – and from January, it will block Amazon’s Fire TVs from accessing the vid service, too. It appears the ad giant is killing off access to the YouTube app on Amazon's gadgets. From today, opening the YouTube application on an Echo Show or Fire TV …
Shaun Nichols, 5 Dec 2017
Alexa photo via Shutterstock

Audio spy Alexa now has a little pal called Dox

Updated Amazon's audio surveillance personal assistant device, Alexa, has acquired an external battery pack called Dox. The appropriately named portable energy store, made by lifestyle gadgetry firm Ninety7, does not (thankfully) do what its name says. Instead, says its maker, it offers "up to 10 hours" of extra life for Alexa. The …
Gareth Corfield, 13 Nov 2017

Alexa, please cause the cops to raid my home

We all assume that intelligent devices will either serve our every need, or try to kill us, but what if they just want to party? Well, it could work out pretty expensive as Oliver Haberstroh found out when his Amazon Alexa started its own early-hours party – waking up, and blasting music automatically, while its owner was out …
Amazon Echo Spot

Out, damned Spot! Amazon emits Echo ball with screen, inevitable ever-listening mic

Amazon expanded its line of Echo cloud commerce intercoms on Wednesday with the introduction of Echo Spot, a spherical hodgepodge of screen, mics and speaker for communing with the company's Alexa software and demanding doorstep deliveries. With living rooms already served and surveilled by elder Echo devices, Echo Spot …
Thomas Claburn, 28 Sep 2017

Alexa and her kind let the disabled or illiterate make the web work

The pell-mell rush to get everything connected and intelligent has led us into some dark corners. Robot vacuum cleaners that map your home - in order to faithfully fulfil your wishes for a clean residence - then sell your data to the highest bidder. Dolls that listen to a child, and share a bit too widely. That sort of thing. …
Mark Pesce, 26 Sep 2017
Alexa and Cortana, together at last

Tech soap-opera latest: Alexa marries Cortana, will share custody of customers

Analysis To encourage people to demand more of their software-based assistants, Amazon and Microsoft plan to link their respective voice-based helpers – Alexa and Cortana – so they can talk to one another. The tie-up, to be consummated later this year, will allow Alexa users to book meetings and read email messages, among other things …
Thomas Claburn, 30 Aug 2017
Alexa photo via Shutterstock

Is it possible to control Amazon Alexa, Google Now using inaudible commands? Absolutely

Eavesdropping appliances like Amazon Echo and software assistants like Google Now can be attacked using mangled words that get interpreted as commands, but humans hear as nonsense. As explained in a 2015 paper [PDF], the phrase "Cocaine Noodles," for example, can be heard by Google Now as its command invocation, "OK, Google …
Thomas Claburn, 25 Aug 2017

Apple pulls massive HomeKit chip U-turn to keep up with Amazon Echo and Google Home

Analysis Apple has made a huge reversal in its HomeKit smart-home technology, in an effort to keep up with Amazon and Google. The iPhone giant has insisted for years that any third parties wishing to create HomeKit-compatible products have to include a special Apple-specified MFi coprocessor (such as this one) in order to authenticate …

Boffins throw Amazon Alexa on the rack to extract hidden clues

Last year, police in Bentonville, Arkansas, investigating the death of Victor Collins, demanded that Amazon turn over audio recordings that may have been made by an Amazon Echo device in his home. Amazon initially resisted the warrant, but in March, James Bates, charged with Collins' murder, consented [PDF] to the release of …
Thomas Claburn, 28 Jul 2017

Alexa, why aren't you working? No – I didn't say twerking. I, oh God...

Hands-on No wonder Silicon Valley is excited about the Amazon Echo. Let's be honest. These voice-controlled assistants have been the only hit the Valley's had in years: the only successful new consumer electronics category. 3D telly, smartwatches, they all came and went, but always-on assistants are a smash. Well, Amazon’s Alexa has …
Andrew Orlowski, 24 Jul 2017
Alexa photo via Shutterstock

Amazon mumbles into its coffee when asked: Will you give app devs people's Alexa chats?

Amazon is apparently considering a plan to provide app developers with transcripts of people's conversations with their Alexa boxes. We're told the Bezos Bunch is mulling whether to change their developer policy to give the third-party coders who create Alexa "skills" app software the raw transcripts of what users say to Alexa …
Shaun Nichols, 13 Jul 2017

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