Siri

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?

Siri

How to Use Siri in iOS 8 to Rate and Identify Songs

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Siri, Apple’s voice-powered virtual assistant, is pretty musically inclined. She’s been able to manipulate your music library for quite some time, letting you play specific tracks, albums, and genres with a simple command. Now with iOS 8, her musical powers...