Cortana smiles as Windows 10 hits user milestone

Microsoft is in a celebratory mood today as Windows 10 OS adoption has finally crossed the 300 million mark, up from 200 million just four months ago, according to a blog post on the Windows site. Some other tidbits: A.I. personal assistant Cortana has answered 6 billion questions over the past year, and one of the biggest uses for Windows 10? Gaming! At least, when it doesn’t decide to upgrade in the middle of a game…

Microsoft hopes to have Windows 10 running on a billion PCs by 2018, if they can just pry all those stragglers off of XP by then.

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If you’re anything like us, you’re talking to robots every day, except we have cute names for them like Siri, Cortana and Alexa, among others. Get ready to meet a new one: Viv. In development for the last 13 years, Viv is a next-level A-I digital assistant from the same folks who developed Siri.

So what’s different about Viv? For one, it doesn’t require an app, a tap on a screen, or a Google search to work. You just talk, and it does things – which is how robots and A.I.s are supposed to work, right? So what was Viv’s first real test? Solving the Grand Unified Theory? Debating Neil DeGrass Tyson? No. It successfully ordered a pizza for the Viv dev team when told “Get me a pizza from Pizza Chicago near my office.”

Now, that may seem like a simple task for a human – and it is – but given the vagueness of the request, it’s still pretty remarkable that a computer was able to pull it off. Viv even asked what toppings the staff wanted without being prompted. But hey, at least it asked. Both Google and Facebook have shown interest in Viv, but so far, this newest A.I. helper remains in development.

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GoPro is known for their almost cliché extreme sports footage bits, so here’s something a bit different. The folks at UP Aerospace strapped a bunch of the new Hero 4 cameras to a 20-foot rocket, and lit the fuse. The result looks almost like something out of a science fiction movie as the rocket climbs to 400,000 feet and then ejects a small pod the company is testing. The cameras also captured a cool separation sequence.

They also got some nice shots of our home world and eventually, the test pod, designed to return stuff from the International Space Station, made a safe but unceremonious landing… in a tree. Mission accomplished.

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