NEW YORK -- This year you can purchase a bit more of the sci-fi future. Hoverboards aren't quite what the name implies, but there's bona fide virtual reality, a droid you should be looking for and a basketball that improves your free throw, all one shopping-click away. These tech gadgets make the pocket-sized computer that talks to you and dials your friends seem quaint. But don't worry, there are plenty of smartphones on sale, too. Sphero's new $150 BB-8 droid is expected to be one of the hottest Star Wars gifts this holiday season.
Humans are amazing creatures – driven by curiosity, intellect, ambition. The Olympic Games this month and the Nobel Prize Awards are examples of how our society reveres those who push their limits to achieve the seemingly impossible in both work and life. Digital advancements and new technologies are quickly redefining what is possible by accelerating human potential beyond the physical and intellectual capabilities of just a few years ago. But what can humans achieve with a little help from artificial intelligence? According to Erik Brynjolfsson, economist at MIT and the co-author of The Second Machine Age, "The accumulated doubling of Moore's Law, and the ample doubling still to come, gives us a world where supercomputer power becomes available to toys in just a few years, where ever-cheaper sensors enable inexpensive solutions to previously intractable problems, and where science fiction keeps becoming reality."
The first time I met Alexa, the A.I. robot voice inside the wine-bottle-size speaker known as the Amazon Echo, I was at my friends' house, in rural New England. "Currently, it is seventy-five degrees," she told us, and assured us that it would not rain. This was a year ago, and I'd never encountered a talking speaker before. When I razzed my friend for his love of gadgetry, he showed me some of Alexa's other tricks: telling us the weather, keeping a shopping list, ordering products from Amazon. This summer, Alexa decided again and again who the tickle monster's next victim was, saying their children's adorable nicknames in her strange A.I. accent.
An owner of an esports bar in Toronto says that his establishment has been getting some pretty odd calls recently, and he's pointing the blame at Siri. You can use Alexa in Amazon's app now, and it's really smart Alvin Acyapan, co-owner of the bar Meltdown Toronto, says that if you ask Siri to locate a sex worker in the Toronto area, it will suggest their bar. Hi @AppleSupport, could you please explain why #siri is saying that people can find prostitutes at our place? The bar also posted images of Siri's response to Reddit, where they went into a little bit more detail. "We've been getting calls about it for a few months now.
After months filled with teases, rumors and speculation, Sonos has finally introduced its first speaker with built-in support for voice commands. Today, at an event in New York City, the company unveiled the Sonos One, a device billed as "The Smart Speaker for Music Lovers." As expected, the main attraction here are the voice features, which at launch will be powered by Amazon's Alexa virtual assistant. We say "at launch" because Sonos CEO, Patrick Spence, ended the presentation with the news that the One will also work with Google Assistant in 2018. You'll notice right away that the new speaker, which arrives October 24th for $199, looks nearly identical to the Play:1.