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Hold on to your butts: Samuel L. Jackson’s voice coming to Alexa today

Back in September, Amazon announced that Samuel L. Jackson’s voice would be coming to an Alexa speaker near you. As of today, that interminable wait is over, and for just $1 you can tell Alexa to answer all sorts of questions with the man himself — though, sadly, he can’t help when it comes to lots of things.

https://m.media-amazon.com/images/G/01/skillstore/jasmine/video1.mp4

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How to Keep Google and Amazon from Listening In

If you didn’t know, Amazon Echo and Google Home devices are listening to you. In fact, smart speakers can record what you say and share those recordings with Amazon and Google employees. This can be super disturbing.

Back in April, a report found that Amazon workers are actually listening to Alexa voice commands and transcribing users’ Alexa recordings. Amazon came to back themselves by saying that they have always been honest that its digital assistant is a work in progress. As they state in Alexa’s FAQ page, Amazon uses data to train “these systems,” and the more it uses, the better Alexa works. What’s more, training Alexa with a voice recording [...]

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Alexa, where is my phone?!

It’s a scenario that we’re all familiar with. You get home with an armful of groceries, purse, briefcase, backpack, etc, put everything down, and then can’t find your phone anywhere. PANIC sets in. Where is my phone!? Luckily, you remembered to enable one of the many great Alexa Skills that can help you find your phone when it’s been misplaced. Need a refresher? Let’s go over how to find that phone.

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This new Alexa feature is so much cooler than we thought it would be

The voice of digital assistants has come a long way from the cold lifelessness manifested in the HAL 9000’s infamous apology to Dave, the one in which the AI said: “I can’t let you do that.”

For several years now, the tech giants behind digital assistants like Alexa, Siri, and Cortana have toiled away at refining the respective personalities of those assistants — hiring writers who can imbue them with jokes, witticisms and other quirks that make a user feel like they’re talking to an actual living thing. With a personality, even. Amazon, meanwhile, is pushing things even farther by now programming Alexa to respond with a range of human-like [...]

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