It’s an AI party: Alexa, Cortana to team up; Siri, Google Home get an invite

What could go wrong? Just ask Her

While we thought this might happen eventually, it looks like the powers that be had a much shorter timetable. Chatty AI bots Alexa from Amazon and Cortana from Microsoft are about to get much, much more friendly with each other. Amazon announced Wednesday morning that Alexa and Cortana will, yes, now be able to talk to each other AND work in a complimentary fashion, as it were.

And yes, you will be able to use one AI bot… to start up the other, as in “Alexa, open Cortana” and visa versa.  Man, this could get really weird really fast. Anyway, Recode says the partnership, which so far does not include Apple’s Siri and Google Home AIs, will play to the other’s strengths. Cortana is good at running Microsoft stuff via voice, while Alexa is the better smart home hub. Now, it looks like they could both get better at things together.

Back to Siri and Google Home: Could they join the AI simpatico party? Both Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Microsoft boss Satya Nadella said they would welcome them both. An Amazon executive told the New York times that “my phone number is out there.” And we all know who’s good at calling people.

Putting the iPhone 8 into port

Just two short weeks until Apple pulls the wraps off the new iPhone 8, and the rumors just keep on coming. According to Bloomberg, the iPhone 8 is going to forgo the home button altogether in favor of facial recognition for unlocking the handset, and now comes word the phone will get an iOS11 feature we thought was only coming to the iPad line: a dock.

Just like Apple laptops and iMacs, iPhone users may now get the shortcut bar that is a hallmark of MacOS. Pretty interesting. And those “display ears” that will be at the top of the screen? Bloomberg says that because the OLED screen will go totally black when it’s off, they will essentially disappear when the screen is clicked off.

Show me something

If you’re half as excited as we are for the October release of Blade Runner 2049, then we have a treat for you: director Denis Villeneuve has commissioned three short films to help fill in the gaps in the 30 year timespan between the 2019 setting of the original movie and the 2049 setting of the new story. The first one hit yesterday exclusively on Collider, and it’s called 2036: Nexus Dawn.

The 5-minute film is directed by Luke Scott, son of original Blade Runner director Ridley Scott. In the bit, Jared Leto’s super-creepy and apparently blind character Neander Wallace, who makes replicants, has a tense meeting with some humans over the legality of the presence of replicants on Earth, which has long been forbidden. Keeping with the tone of the Blade Runner ethos, the film is philosophical – and also bloody.

There are multiple references to something called “The Blackout” that may be a key plot point, and talented character actor Benedict Wong is on point for the short feature. Check it out at the link, but be prepared for some NSFW violence. Blade Runner 2049 hits theaters on October 6th.

We’ve got more news on our Facebook page and YouTube channel, and be sure to tune in to this week’s DT podcasts: Close to the Metal (computers and such) on Tuesday, Trends with Benefits (general tech shenanigans)  on Thursdays, and Between the Streams (movie and TV topics) every Friday.

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