'Amazon's Alexa is now part of the family – I just hope she doesn't replace me'

The Guardian

The most futuristic thing I have ever bought used to be a Sonos music player. I'd have people over just to show it off. "Name a song," I'd say. "Go on, any version of any song by any act that ever lived. So they would, and I'd pull out my phone and – hey presto – seconds later, that song would boom out across my living room like magic.

Get $100 off an iRobot Roomba from Target


Just to let you know, if you buy something featured here, Mashable might earn an affiliate commission. They're helpful, kinda adorable, and the exact right amount of intelligence we want our devices to have. Plus, you can give it a fun name. SEE ALSO: Here's how to get one of those Star Wars vacuums if you don't want to shell out $800 up front Roomba was one of the first to the Smart Home trend. Before Amazon got Alexa into every room of your house, you could still get a robot to do your chores.

Amazon Echo, Google Home Hack: Devices At Risk For Blueborne Attack

International Business Times

A number of serious security flaws discovered to affect Bluetooth devices earlier this year are now plaguing artificial intelligence-based, voice-activated speakers including Google Home and Amazon Echo. Security firm Armis--the same group that first disclosed the Bluetooth vulnerabilities, dubbed Blueborne, in September--has issued new warning that as many as 15 million Amazon Echo devices and five million Google Home speakers are currently at risk. According to researchers, the Amazon Echo is susceptible to two primary vulnerabilities related to Blueborne. The first is a remote code execution vulnerability that would allow an attacker to run arbitrary code on the device that could force it to perform malicious actions without the device owner's knowledge. In a demonstration video posted on YouTube Armis researchers, they show the attack in action.

Apple delays HomePod speaker


OK, Google, and hey, Alexa, you won't have Siri to worry about in the living room for the holidays. Apple on Friday delayed the pending release of its high-end HomePod connected speaker until 2018, saying it wasn't ready for shipment. When the company announced HomePod in June as a higher-fidelity answer to Amazon's Echo and Google Home -- and its Siri personal digital assistant on board -- December had been its scheduled release. In a statement, Apple said "We can't wait for people to experience HomePod...but we need a little more time before it's ready for our customers." Delaying products isn't new for Apple.

5 security mistakes you're probably making


A simple trick goes a long way in hiding your webcam: tape. You don't think about your car until you get a flat. You don't appreciate your phone until the screen cracks. Cyber-security is something you take for granted, until someone hacks your account, steals your bank info, and spreads compromising pictures of you all over the Internet. Most people know about virus protection.



Bert Brautigam is sick of having conversations with his devices. Like many of us, Brautigam, who works for the design firm Ziba, uses voice assistants like Google's phone AI or Amazon's Alexa. The theory is that voice commands make life more convenient. But these assistants are scripted to emulate every day conversation. And everyday conversation is filled with little pauses and filler words, the "phatic" spackle of social interactions.

Amazon's Alexa and Prime Music service arrive in Canada


The absence of Amazon's Alexa and Prime Music services in Canada has been a strange oversight, given that the nation's share a border and (one of two) common languages. That has now been corrected, as Amazon has finally launched the Echo family, Prime Music and Alexa Voice services and skills in the land of hockey and poutine. "We're excited to bring [Alexa] to Canada with an experienced designed from the ground up for our Canadian customers," said Amazon Senior VP Tom Taylor in a statement. Amazon has introduced a new English voice for Alexa with a Canadian accent, though even we Canadians aren't exactly sure what that is. However, Alexa doesn't seem to be available yet in French, which is bit surprising considering that it's one of Canada's two official languages (Engadget has reached out for more information).

The Next Wave Of Storytelling Is Heading For Our Shores


A giant wave, digital in origin, is ready to surge our shores. Back in July I hinted at this tsunami of shiny new objects that will take the form of new realities and new ways to generate intelligence for marketing execution. The call to action around these efforts–especially augmented and virtual realities, AI-infused chat, and voice assistants–is to prepare yourself for another round of "lead or follow" decision making. Some new research supports how these emerging interfaces are going to matter, and soon. Who is on this leading edge of exploration?

5 Exciting Machine Learning Use Cases in Business IoT For All


The release of two machine learning (ML) model builders have made it easier for software engineers to create and run ML models, even without specialized training. Microsoft and Amazon Web Services' (AWS) Gluon is an open source project that eliminates some of the difficult work required to develop artificial intelligence (AI) systems. It provides training algorithms and neural network models, two important components of a deep learning system, that developers can use to develop their own ML systems. Google's ML engine is part of its cloud platform and is offered as a managed service for developers to build ML models that work on any type of data, of any size. Similar to Gluon, Google's service provides pre-trained models for developers to generate their own tailored ML models.



You no longer have to be picky about which voice assistant you use to steer Ecobee's smart thermostats. Google Assistant now offers control over Ecobee3 and Ecobee4 models, letting you tweak the temperature from your phone or an Assistant-equipped speaker like those in the Home lineup. It's a relatively simple addition, but it means that Ecobee's thermostats now respond to voice commands from three of the major voice assistants (Alexa, Assistant and Siri) in some capacity -- sorry, Cortana fans. The move gives Ecobee an edge over Nest's thermostats, which already had Alexa and Google Assistant support but still lacks the native HomeKit support it would need for Siri. You don't necessarily want to pick a thermostat just for its voice input options.