In a world full of smart devices, self-driving cars and voice assistants, Shazam is the closest technology comes to actual magic. The software allows you to hold your phone up to a speaker and answer the age-old question, "what is this song and who's it by?" without the humiliation of having to ask the DJ. And in 2018 the answer, most frequently, was "Solo by Clean Bandit". The song, which features US star Demi Lovato, was tagged 9.1 million times. British artists performed five of Shazam's top 10 songs, with Calvin Harris, Dua Lipa and newcomer Tom Walker all making the chart.
Listen up, Apple Music subscribers--HomePod isn't the only smart speaker that can handle your tunes anymore. Apple has teamed up with Amazon to allow streaming on Echo devices, so all of your songs, albums, and playlists are good to go. Here's how to set it all up: Setting up Apple Music on your Echo device takes just a few taps. Now you can say, "Alexa, play'Imagine' by Ariana Grande on Apple Music" and it'll start playing. You can also ask Alexa to stream playlists, charts, and Beats 1 radio.
You're probably used to the presence of facial recognition cameras at airports and other transport hubs, but what about at concerts? That's the step Taylor Swift's team took at her May 18th show at the Rose Bowl, in a bid to identify her stalkers. According to Rolling Stone, the camera was hidden inside a display kiosk at the event, and sent images of anyone who stopped to look at the display to a "command post" in Nashville, where they were cross-referenced with other photos of the star's known stalkers. As the target of numerous death and rape threats, Swift arguably has a valid motivation for leveraging such technology. However, it's unclear who has ownership of the photos of her concertgoers, or how long they will remain on file.
While facial recognition is increasingly being used by authorities to keep track of wrongdoers, entertainers have employed the tech as well – to keep track of stalkers. As per Rolling Stone, at Taylor Swift's Rose Bowl concert in May, a kiosk was set up where it was playing clips of the pop star's rehearsal. Little did concertgoers know was that a camera was hiding behind the kiosk's screen, where a facial recognition camera was snapping photos and transferring them to a Nashville-based "command post." The images were then checked with a database of the singer's known list of stalkers, which numbers in the hundreds. "Everybody who went by would stop and stare at it, and the software would start working," Mike Downing, chief security officer of Oak View Group, told the publication.
Last week, the world's leading experts in artificial intelligence converged on the Canadian city of Montreal for one of the biggest gatherings in their field. On Saturday, the 2018 Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NeurIPS) hosted a workshop titled "AI for Social Good". The assembled crowd were not treated to the usual conference staples of robot demonstrations or video presentations showcasing new algorithms that promise to revolutionise healthcare systems. Instead, they were greeted with a solo performance by the superstar cellist Yo-Yo Ma, followed by a session on artificial intelligence, ethics and the arts. The history of artificial intelligence is littered with algorithms that were supposed to mimic the most complex feats of human creativity, from problem-solving to writing poems, composing music and painting portraits.
Sonos and Apple need to move over as Bose is entering the high-end smart speaker market. At $50 more than Apple's HomePod and $100 less than the Sonos Play:5, the Home Speaker 500 from Bose might be hitting a sweet spot for high-end smart speakers. Don't get me wrong -- $399.95 is a lot for a speaker, especially one geared for a wide consumer audience. Bose is hoping that its audio tech will give the Speaker 500 an edge over the competition. SEE ALSO: Amazon's second-gen Echo Show is a huge step up from the original On paper, it's smarter than the HomePod thanks to Alexa (Amazon's assistant is just better than Siri at this stage of the game), and Bose says the Speaker 500 creates "the widest sound of any smart speaker."
Speakers at the event include Israeli pop star and entrepreneur Ivri Lider. Lider is co-owner of MyPart Inc., a Tel Aviv-based startup that lets little-known artists offer their original songs, lyrics, music, translations, and visual art to successful musicians of their choice. One of the key speakers will be Avi Korenblum, a 20-year veteran of Israeli intelligence organizations. In 2012, Korenblum founded New York-headquartered online data analysis company Voyager Labs. Incorporated as Voyager Analytics Inc., the company develops artificial intelligence technology that provides enterprises with real-time actionable insights into their users' on-site activity.
Amazon is rolling out a few tweaks to Alexa that will make it easier to find the music you want to hear. By telling Alexa what you like and don't like and by conversing with Amazon's assistant about what you enjoy listening to, Alexa will be able to create more personalized suggestions and playback even when you just say, "Alexa, play music." If you're looking for Alexa to offer some suggestions for playlists that are tailored to you and what you want, the virtual assistant will now be able to talk to you about what you're looking for. When you say something like, "Alexa, help me find a holiday playlist," or "Alexa, help me find dinner music," Alexa will respond with a few questions to help get a better grasp on what genre, tempo or mood you're hoping to incorporate. Alexa will then customize playback based on how you responded and your past listening history.
Amazon is pretty platform-agnostic when it comes to music. Its Echo speakers obviously work with Amazon Music as well as Spotify, Pandora, IHeartRadio and a number of other options. Starting on December 17th, Echo owners will have another option: Apple Music. The second-biggest streaming service in the US will work with Alexa, with users able to request songs, albums, artists, radio stations and playlists from Apple Music. While Amazon says that Apple Music will work with Echo speakers starting the week of December 17th, it doesn't say how fast the rollout will go, so Echo owners may have to be a little patient.
In news that might help you make some sense of your fragmented, frustrating device set up, Amazon announced today that its Echo devices will support Apple Music starting December 17. It's a small breakthrough in the streaming wars, one that should help bring some sense to your streaming strategy. And you've got Apple's increasing need to branch out beyond hardware to thank. When the Apple Music Alexa skill goes into effect next month, all you'll need to do to tap into Beats 1 is enable it and link your account. The simplicity of switching it on belies the tangled threads that will have gotten it there in the first place.