Why the Talking "Smart" Barbie Terrifies Parents

Some child advocates are clamoring for Mattel to halt production of a new "smart" Barbie that can have conversations with your kid. The Barbie's powered by voice recognition artificial intelligence that's becoming increasingly prevalent in our everyday gadgets, but that doesn't mean it doesn't freak people out.… » 3/12/15 3:10pm 3/12/15 3:10pm

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

The Hal 9000 of Grills Tells You When It's Time to Flip the Meat

No one likes a backseat griller, especially if you've spent years perfecting your bbq craft. But for those starting out, a little coaching can help avoid turning steak into charcoal. And Lynx's voice-activated Smart Grill will actually ask you what's going on the barbie so it can then recommend the perfect setting,… » 4/08/14 9:20am 4/08/14 9:20am

How Do Computers Understand Speech?

More and more, we can get computers to do things for us by talking to them. A computer can call your mother when you tell it to, find you a pizza place when you ask for one, or write out an email that you dictate. Sometimes the computer gets it wrong, but a lot of the time it gets it right, which is amazing when you… » 11/30/12 10:03am 11/30/12 10:03am

Do You Actually Use Voice Commands on Your Smartphone?

If the last month has made anything evident, it's that tech companies are not treating voice recognition as a gimmick, and in fact, are increasingly paying more attention to it. But like our friend Matt Buchanan points out, it's sort of de-humanizing. Is this something you actually use? How do you use it? Do you feel… » 6/28/12 7:00pm 6/28/12 7:00pm