Amazon Patents Alexa Tech To Tell If You’re Sick, Depressed And Sell You Meds

from ars technica Amazon has patented technology that could let Alexa analyze your voice to determine whether you are sick or depressed and sell you products based on your physical or emotional condition. The patent, titled “Voice-based determination of physical and emotional characteristics of users,” was issued on Tuesday this week; Amazon filed the patent application in March 2017. The patent describes a voice assistant that can detect “abnormal” physical or emotional conditions. “For example, physical conditions such as sore throats and coughs may be determined based at least in part on a voice input from the user, and emotional conditions […]

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Amazon Spent Nearly $23 Billion On R&D Last Year — More Than Any Other U.S. Company

from recode Tech companies claimed the top five spots in the U.S. for research and development spending again last year, investing a combined total of $76 billion. Amazon was at the top of the list, spending $22.6 billion in 2017, 41 percent more than in 2016 (when it also topped the list). Amazon has poured resources into AWS, Alexa and technologies like computer vision to support ambitious projects such as the Amazon Go cashierless store of the future. Amazon has also recently been the target of President Trump’s Twitter attacks accusing the company of not paying its share of taxes […]

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The House That Spied on Me

from Gizmodo In December, I converted my one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco into a “smart home.” I connected as many of my appliances and belongings as I could to the internet: an Amazon Echo, my lights, my coffee maker, my baby monitor, my kid’s toys, my vacuum, my TV, my toothbrush, a photo frame, a sex toy, and even my bed. “Our bed?” asked my husband, aghast. “What can it tell us?” “Our breathing rate, heart rate, how often we toss and turn, and then it will give us a sleep report each morning,” I explained. “Sounds creepy,” he said, […]

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Co-Parenting With Alexa

from NYTs You are going to have a chance to play with Alexa,” I told my daughter, Grace, who’s 3 years old. Pointing at the black cylindrical device, I explained that the speaker, also known as the Amazon Echo, was a bit like Siri but smarter. “You can ask it anything you want,” I said nonchalantly. Grace leaned forward toward the speaker. “Hello, Alexa, my name is Gracie,” she said. “Will it rain today?” The turquoise rim glowed into life. “Currently, it is 60 degrees,” a perky female voice answered, assuring her it wouldn’t rain. Over the next hour, Grace […]

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Amazon Says Your Alexa Recordings Are Protected By The First Amendment

from BuzzFeed News Amazon is turning to the First Amendment to support its refusal to give law enforcement recordings and responses captured by the Alexa voice assistant on an Amazon Echo speaker that may help police solve a murder case. After James Bates was charged with murdering his colleague Victor Collins in Walmart’s hometown of Bentonville, Arkansas in November 2015, police issued a search warrant for the contents of Bates’ Echo speaker. But Amazon has fired back with a 90-page brief contending that the records Alexa collected are protected free speech. Forbes has reproduced the document in full. Bates also owned an LG […]

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The Internet of Things Is Coming for Us

from NYTs The Moche people lived on Peru’s north coast long before the Spanish conquest of the Americas. They grew corn and squash, built monumental adobe temples and were master craftsmen in gold and ceramics. They never had the chance to sell their wares on Etsy, and yet they anticipated some of our most modern anxieties. Like us, they saw themselves living in a vulnerable world where the technology created to make their lives better was just as likely to turn against them. While we worry about our baby monitors and home routers being hijacked by malicious hackers, they perceived […]

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