Mobile & Wireless

Apple CarPlay

Apple CarPlay, Android Auto: Sanity Check

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Apple CarPlay lets your car display a familiar, iOS-like interface. So too with Android Auto and its Google Now-ish display. But your new car has a built-in set of similar features that are ergonomically and technologically integrated. Should you plug your smartphone into the Apple CarPlay or Android Auto USB port and connect it to your car's infotainment system, or just car-mount your smartphone, plug it into a charger and use it separately?

Pokémon Go

Pokémon Go for People Who Couldn’t Care Less

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Augmented Reality (AR) is not new, but thanks to Pokémon Go it is newly relevant. The game has broken every record for adoption, users, and time spent, and it has given Nintendo a much-needed boost in both buzz and market cap – oh, and it's super-fun to play. Even if you never download the game or even look at a screenshot, here are a few things about Pokémon Go's epic launch that may move you from "I couldn't care less" to "Hmm … that's interesting."

1776

8 Hottest Tech Trends in 1776

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In the 1770s, America was a relatively low tech, agrarian society. But all that was about to change. So here, for your Independence Day reading pleasure, are the eight hottest tech trends circa 1776.

Google Home and Amazon Echo

I’ve Talked to the Future and It Talked Back

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Sometimes I walk into a room and say, “Alexa, what’s the temperature outside?” She answers by speaking the current temperature followed by an abbreviated weather report. She’s so human-like, I have to resist the temptation to say “Thank you” when she finishes. Importantly, Alexa is not a she; it is a component of Amazon's Echo natural language processing system. Amazon has anthropomorphized Echo with a female voice and a feminine name, which makes it easy to call Alexa a “she.” Should we be polite when we speak to it, or is it OK to be abrupt or even abusive? The device won’t care. It doesn't have feelings; but how will we teach our children to differentiate between machines that sound and act like people, and other disembodied voices that actually are people?

Tay.ai

Is Microsoft’s Tay Chatbot Really “a Bad Naughty Robot?”

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Tay is a combination chatbot and AI system designed by Microsoft to "engage and entertain people where they connect with each other online through casual and playful conversation." It was specifically "targeted at 18 to 24 year olds in the U.S., the dominant users of mobile social chat services in the U.S." If the words "designed" and "targeted" are off-putting, then you're really not going to care for one of the system's recent, now infamous, tweets ... but, there is much, much more to learn from Microsoft's mistake.