The Echo Show is not just Amazon's best smart speaker, it's the most capable mainstream smart home assistant on the market. An Intel Atom x5-Z8350 processor and a 7-inch color touchscreen pumps its price tag up to $230, but the display is worth the added cost to have at least one in a smart home with other Echo speakers. And the Show's eight-element far-field mic array is stronger than the ones on Amazon's other Echos, which for me eliminated the need to have an Echo Dot in an adjoining room. Amazon takes full advantage of that display, providing not just useful visual feedback, but also an in-home intercom--with video, if two Echo Shows are used--and a VoIP-type videophone system. I'll elaborate on the intercom feature shortly.
My son has just been given a new toy car. It's small, blue and remarkably cute-looking for something that threatens one day to cost a lot of people their jobs. For what's unusual about this car is that it wasn't made in a distant Chinese factory before being shipped back to a warehouse here, then trucked to a shop, or dumped on a doorstep by an overworked Amazon driver with no time to ring the doorbell. This one came straight off a 3D printer, one of those faintly space age-sounding gizmos that works a bit like a normal printer except that you load it with plastic fibres instead of paper, and then programme it to "print" a solid object according to your preferred design. It's slow and expensive now, which is why the car my son was given isn't really a toy but a marketing gimmick.
When Hillary Clinton's new book What Happened debuted on Amazon's Web site last month, the response was incredible. So incredible, that of the 1,600 reviews posted on the book's Amazon page in just a few hours, the company soon deleted 900 it suspected of being bogus: written by people who said they loved or hated the book, but had neither purchased nor likely even read it. Fake product reviews--prompted by payola or more nefarious motives--are nothing new, but they are set to become a bigger problem as tricksters find new ways of automating online misinformation campaigns launched to sway public opinion. Amazon has deleted nearly 1,200 reviews of What Happened since it debuted on September 12, according to ReviewMeta, a watchdog site that analyzes consumer feedback for products sold on Amazon.com. ReviewMeta gained some notoriety last year when, after evaluating seven million appraisals across Amazon, it called out the online retailer for allowing "incentivized" reviews by people paid to write five-star product endorsements.
We constantly test all the latest devices, including Roku players, Fire TV devices, Android TV devices, Apple TV, and Chromecast. Compared to other 4K HDR streaming devices such as the Xiaomi Mi Box and Chromecast Ultra, the Roku Premiere ($100) supports more sources of 4K and 4K HDR content. If you're willing to spend a little more, the $130 Roku Ultra adds voice search, USB storage, and a remote-finding feature, but it's not a must-have upgrade. Ecosystem tie-ins: Apple apps and services are only available through Apple TV, while Fire TV devices are the most convenient way to watch Amazon Prime video, and Google's video and music services are generally best-accessed via Chromecast or Android TV.
The company's popular set-top boxes and sticks never included TV volume or power controls, so you typically had to keep another remote handy or buy a universal remote. With or without 4K HDR, the biggest improvement to the new Roku Streaming Sticks is in their remotes, which now include volume buttons and a power button for TV controls. Being able to quickly look up specific movies or shows by name is helpful--and Roku's latest software brings some new features, such as genre search and filtering by streaming service--but Roku's voice search is still far behind other platforms in several ways. Beyond just technical issues, Roku doesn't support the kinds of sophisticated queries that Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Android TV do.
The days of manually turning off the TV or ordering pizza on the phone are numbered. Citizens can now talk to their devices and ask it to perform tasks. If you want to join the gang but scared of the upfront money, Amazon's 2nd Generation Echo Dot is here to save you. At merely $50, it is as capable as its bigger siblings with only a few features removed.
We're decades away from a "Star Trek"-style conversational computer, much less the Artificial Intelligence of Stephen Spielberg's "A.I." For years, popular fiction has fused robots with artificial intelligence, from Gort of "The Day the Earth Stood Still" to the Cylons of "Battlestar Galactica," from the pseudo-human robots of Isaac Asimov's "I Robot" novel to Data of "Star Trek: The Next Generation." In the meantime, some advances in AI will help robots work better, because their software can become more sophisticated. Most of what is now positioned as the base of AI -- product recommendations at Amazon, content recommendations at Facebook, voice recognition by Apple's Siri, driving suggestions from Google Maps, and so on -- is simply pattern matching.
Amazon (AMZN) is joining forces with Microsoft (MSFT) to offer a new software platform for developing applications with artificial intelligence. XAutoplay: On OffAmazon and Microsoft said the new platform, called Gluon, will allow developers of all skill levels "to prototype, build, train and deploy sophisticated machine learning models for the cloud, devices at the edge and mobile apps," according to the announcement. The Gluon platform will make it easier for developers of all skill levels to build neural networks, the companies said. "We created the Gluon interface so building neural networks and training models can be as easy as building an app."
With this in mind, how might artificial intelligence (AI) affect the world of retirement accounts, specifically defined contribution (DC) plans? With fee transparency, few surviving providers, and robos directing consumers to the most suitable investment products and strategies, the employer's role in retirement funds will probably diminish. In turn, true personal pension accounts, akin to bank accounts, will likely emerge at the expense of company-run plans. He has over a decade of experience in roles spanning product development, consulting, and strategy across the DC landscape.
Once Google decided to get more serious about its cloud computing business and serving enterprise customers--Google Cloud storage officially launched in 2010--it has found more ways to take its AI investment and acumen and use it to serve others. All of Google's work on Google Translate can now help any global business with a call center. Amazon has a much more natural synergy between its AI efforts and how it can sell those initiatives to others via its industry-leading cloud computing service. After it built warehouses to fulfill orders for customers, it offered Fulfillment by Amazon to those same marketplace businesses.