More than any other device, Alexa has become our closest approximation of artificial intelligence. She has a voice and personality, and if you ask the right question, she’ll even get sassy with you. Users even refer to Alexa as “she.” We usually prefer to say her name, rather than the name of the device itself, Amazon Echo. For many owners, Alexa is more than a mere virtual assistant; she has become something like a domestic companion, a Rosie or R2-D2 that can also order takeout.
No matter how many Amazon Echo commercials you see, it takes a little time to adjust to Alexa. Putting a virtual assistant in your home signals a change in lifestyle, sort of like adopting a puppy. There will be a lot of trial-and-error, but once you find your rhythm, you’ll forget what life was like without her.
If you own an Amazon Echo, you probably know its strange secret. On the upside, this amazing technology puts instant information a voice command away. The downside is that Amazon stores an audio recording of every voice command you’ve issued to Alexa, not just in the device itself, but on Amazon’s servers. What does Amazon plan to do with these recordings?
For decades, we've seen science fiction movies in which people talk to computers. Dave spoke to HAL, Michael Knight was assisted by KITT, and the list goes on. The computers were smart, and (usually) did what they were told. Now Amazon Echo and Google Home are making the dream come true. But which one is better? I've tried both Amazon Echo and Google Home, and I can tell you.
Yes, voice technology is amazing. You can ask your phone a question. You can talk to your speaker system and even book an Uber. With the right setup, you can verbally lock the doors in your house, dim the lights, and change the thermostat. Virtual assistants are handy, but they’re always listening. So what happens to the audio files they gather?
I receive so many questions from my listeners about tech concerns, new products and all things digital. Answering your questions is the best part of my job. This week, I address questions about disguising spy cams in different objects, upgrading iPhone batteries, what are the coolest Alexa commands, and more.
When Amazon's Echo first hit the market, it was basically just a voice-operated speaker. Now it's better than ever, but a lot of people only ask Alexa a few basic questions. The question I get over and over again: What else can Alexa do? Read my column and I'll show you seven amazing commands Alexa can tackle for you.
People used to dream about robot secretaries. Futurists imagined a world where computers obeyed our every command. When the Amazon Echo hit the market, that dream became a reality. But even as Echo wins over more fans, critics are still skeptical. Alexa is always listening. Our voices are recorded and stored. Owners worry that their Echo will be hacked, allowing strangers to hear our daily activities. Before you welcome Alexa into your life, consider some security settings.
Each week, I receive tons of questions from my listeners about all things digital. This week, I'm covering easy fixes for Wi-Fi problems, Amazon Echo commands, selling things on Craigslist and more great topics. Do you have a question you'd like to ask me?