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​Amazon Echo Review: I Just Spoke to the Future And It Listened

It only took me a few hours to get cozy with my new assistant. “Alexa,” I barked at the nine-inch black cylinder on my coffee table, “Shut up.” The lights on top of the cylinder went dark; the embarrassing 90s music playing from its speaker cut out. “Alexa, what’s the weather?” I paused with anticipation. “45 degrees… » 6/25/15 3:20pm 6/25/15 3:20pm

What's the Worst Thing About Virtual Assistants?

There’s a rumor that Apple will be redesigning Siri to better resemble its colorful Watch version. Cool. But with Google Now and Microsoft’s Cortana getting a lot of development attention on their platforms, including a male version of Cortana, Siri probably needs more than just an interface overhaul. In fact, there’s… » 5/06/15 6:15pm 5/06/15 6:15pm

Amazon's Echo Might Be Its Most Important Product In Years

It's pretty rare that a new product truly surprises us. But today Amazon did just that, introducing Echo, a talking, listening piece of electronic furniture. It's like having the internet on your kitchen table, cracking jokes and settling bets, and it's the most innovative device Amazon's made in years. » 11/06/14 2:33pm 11/06/14 2:33pm

This Short Film Explains Our Fascination With Talking to Computers

Using names like Siri, Cortana, and Google Now, advanced algorithms and technologies that would have baffled engineers and scientists half a century ago now rest in the palm of our hands. Talking with technology is the future of computing—mainly because that's the way we're built to communicate. » 10/19/14 9:00am 10/19/14 9:00am

The Heartwarming Story of An 11-Year-Old's New Technological Friend

For most of us, Siri or Google Now (or Cortana, if you swing that way) is a minor help at best, a first-world solution to the first-world problem of not being able to text and drive. But as Judith Newman illustrates today in a heartfelt and heartwarming piece in the New York Times, Apple's digital assistant has become… » 10/18/14 1:00pm 10/18/14 1:00pm

Study Finds Using Siri Is More Distracting Than Just Using Your Phone

Voice controls are touted as the "safe" alternative to fumbling with our phones, and yes, they keep our eyes on the road and our hands on the wheel. But the technology is still half-baked, and in the case of Apple's Siri, it's distracting enough to cause two crashes in a simulator. » 10/08/14 2:19am 10/08/14 2:19am