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Researchers compile list of 1,000 words that accidentally trigger Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Researchers in Germany have compiled a list of more than 1,000 words that will inadvertently cause virtual assistants like Amazon's Alexa and Apple's Siri to become activated. Once activated, these virtual assistants create sound recordings that are later transmitted to platform holders, where they may be transcribed for quality assurance purposes or other analysis. According to the team, from Ruhr-Universität Bochum and the Max Planck Institute for Cyber Security and Privacy in Germany, this has'alarming' implications for user privacy and likely means short recordings of personal conversations could periodically end up in the hands of Amazon, Apple, Google, or Microsoft workers. Researchers in Germany tested virtual assistants like Amazon's Alexa, Apple's Siri, Google Assistant, and Microsoft's Cortana, and found more than 1,000 words or phrases that would inadvertently activate each device The group tested Amazon's Alexa, Apple's Siri, Google Assistant, Microsoft Cortana, as well as three virtual assistants exclusive to the Chinese market, from Xiaomi, Baidu, and Tencent, according to a report from the Ruhr-Universität Bochum news blog. They left each virtual assistant alone in a room with a television that played dozens of hours of episodes from Game of Thrones, Modern Family, and House of Cards, with English, German, and Chinese audio tracks for each.

Amazon Echo vs. Echo Dot--what's the difference?

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

Alexa is the world's most popular smart assistant and the driving force behind Amazon's beloved Echo smart speaker lineup. These voice-controlled, Alexa-enabled smart speakers can be used to manage your smart home, give you the forecasts for the day ahead, and much more. If you're thinking about inviting Alexa into your home via one of Amazon's Echo speakers, you may be wondering which one to buy. We took a look at two of Amazon's most popular smart speakers, the Echo (third-generation) and the Echo Dot (third-generation) to help you decide which of these handy smart speakers is best for you. The Echo Dot (third-generation) is one of the smallest Amazon Echo smart speakers. The most obvious visual difference between the Echo Dot and the Echo is the size.

Call For a Wake Standard for Artificial Intelligence

Communications of the ACM

Apple pioneered the voice revolution in 2011 with the introduction of Siri in its iPhone 4s. Today, you tell your iPhone 11, "Hey Siri, Play Bruce Springsteen by Spotify," and it responds, "I can't talk to Spotify, but you can use Apple music instead," politely displaying options on the screena as shown in the figure here. Or, you tell one of your five Amazon Echo devices at home, "Alexa, add pumpkin pie to my Target shopping list,"b then "order AA Duracell batteries," and it adds pumpkin pie and Amazon Basics batteries to your Amazon shopping cart, ignoring your request to shop at Target and be loyal to Duracell. You are the consumer, but your choices have been ignored. Or, consider you are a brand manager.

Amazon's smart gadgets are currently reduced by up to 40%

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Better yet, all of these gadgets can be delivered next day to your door, which is perfect if you're looking for a last-minute gift. Savings include a mega discount on Amazon's most popular Alexa smart speaker, which has been slashed to its lowest price to date this year. Plus, you can pre-order the all-new Fire 7 Tablet now and receive 17 per cent off. What dad wouldn't appreciate new tech this Father's Day? Ahead, check out the best Amazon device deals that would make great gifts. If your dad is after a smart speaker, then this deal is for you.

Amazon Echo Auto launches in the UK and Ireland

Daily Mail - Science & tech

The first Amazon Echo device designed for use in a car has finally been launched in the UK and Ireland, after being first revealed by the tech giant back in 2018. Amazon Echo Auto allows drivers to play music, check the news, make calls and check their schedule without taking hands off the wheel or eyes off the road. The £49.99 device, which clips to car air vent mounts, is powered by Alexa, the company's digital assistant, just like the rest of the Echo smart speaker range. Drivers can use Alexa voice commands such as'Alexa, start my road trip playlist' to enjoy their journey safely without being distracted by their phone. The three-inch-long black box gets internet connectivity by connecting to a user's smartphone and the Alexa app, and using its existing data plan.

SDL Partners with DRUID to Power Multilingual Chatbot Conversations SDL


SDL (LSE: SDL), the intelligent language and content company, announces it has entered into a technical partnership with DRUID, specialists in conversational AI, to launch multi-lingual virtual assistants for enterprise organizations that enable real-time communication through chatbots. By integrating SDL Machine Translation with DRUID virtual assistants, companies will be able to conduct chatbot conversations in different languages with employees, customers, partners and suppliers. The solution offers a real-time "interpreter mode" function, which can translate conversations along with "live chat" which can translate into multiple languages in real-time. This supports the need for customers to easily translate entire conversations as well as enable scenarios where an agent – human or virtual – needs to communicate across multiple languages simultaneously. Chatbots are commonly configured to undergo complicated question-and-answering activities in different languages, but language-specific customization can be complex, time-consuming and costly.

Smart speaker showdown: Google Home vs. Amazon Echo


Smart speakers sit in our homes, quietly listening to everything we say and feeding what they learn back to the corporations that spawned them, like sinister Elves on Shelves. Still, some of us can't resist the shiny allure of being able to yell random questions into the void like a medieval despot and get an answer back. This raises the difficult question of exactly which servant/spy to employ in your smart home. The Google Home and the Amazon Echo are two of the most prolific smart speakers on the market, but at first glance there's little separating them. Both allow you to control your smart home, play music, and set timers by speaking.

The best Amazon device deals May 2020

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Are you searching for a little smart home inspiration? On Amazon, there are several deals that will satisfy your tech cravings. The mega retailer has cut prices on a variety of bestselling smart devices including the Fire TV Stick, Fire 7 Kids Edition Tablet, Amazon Echo and more. But be quick, these low prices always prove popular so you don't want to wait around. Ahead are our top picks of the best smart device deals on Amazon.

Adventures of a Computational Explorer, book review: Wolfram's world, in 25 essays


Stephen Wolfram has had the sort of career that The Big Bang Theory's Sheldon Cooper might identify with: PhD in particle physics at 20, youngest-ever MacArthur Fellow at 21. At 26, Wikipedia tells us, Richard Feynman advised him to find a way to do his research with as little contact with non-technical people as possible because he didn't understand them, and Wolfram founded a company to do the work he wanted to do. In the years since, Wolfram Research has produced the computer language Mathematica and the computational knowledge engine Wolfram Alpha (which helps Bing and Siri answer questions), done widely-cited work on cellular automata, created Wolfram Language ("a general computational language for humans and computers"), and set scientists arguing by writing his 2002 book, A New Kind of Science. In Adventures of a Computational Explorer, Wolfram has assembled rambling tales of a variety of his exploits: the progressive mathematical development of'Spikey', the company's logo; his work developing Wolfram Alpha; the art of naming functions; speculation about how quantum computing, AI, and the blockchain might usefully intersect; how to communicate generally with aliens; and the habits he has adopted to lead a productive life. Most of these pieces will have the most resonance for those working in computing.

Apple's HomePod falls to $200 again at Best Buy


Don't worry if you missed out on the last time the HomePod was on sale -- the deal is back. Best Buy is once again selling Apple's smart speaker for $200, or a full $100 off the usual price. At that cost, it could easily make sense if you're in an Apple-centric household and want a speaker to lift your mood or control your smart home. The HomePod has long been one of our top picks for sound quality, punching well above its weight (or rather, size) -- especially now that you can create stereo pairs and groups. And while the initial feature set was underwhelming, to put it mildly, Apple has gone some length to improve things with multi-user support, audio handoffs, live radio and Spotify voice control.