After yesterday’s announcements from Amazon, we gotta ask: is there an Echo in here? Seems highly likely as Amazon rolled out a total of six new Echo devices to join their already robust line of Alexa-powered homebots. Let’s just jump right in: there’s the new second-gen plain ‘ol Echo for $100, the new Echo Plus with better sound for $150, the Echo Connect speakerphone device for $35, the new Echo Buttons that Amazon calls an “Alexa Gadget” and can be used for playing group games, and we can’t forget the new $69 4K Ultra HD Fire TV box with Alexa integration.
And last but not least, the sorta retro-cool Echo Spot, a slimmed-down version of the Echo Show with a small – and round – video display, for just under $130. We think that’s the one with the most curb appeal.
So what do they do and which one is best for you? Check out our complete rundown of all the new Echo homebots, and get ready to get friendly with your new AI pal, Alexa.
Three for the show?
Looks like Google isn’t wasting any time in getting a competitor to the new iPhone 10 on the market.
According to Android Headlines, youtuber MrWhoseTheBoss got ahold of some images from an internal show-and-tell at Google showing a third Google Pixel smartphone, which may end up being called the Ultra Pixel or Pixel Ultra. Not surprisingly, the phone appears to have the new must-have nearly bezel-less front display. But beyond that, not many details.
A halo-level Google Pixel smartphone would seem logical, considering Apple latest offerings. We’ll likely know more next week. Google is expected to announce the new generation of Pixel phones on October 4th.
Go ask HALice
Here’s something that’s from a ways out in left field, but it isn’t totally unexpected: a high-profile member of the tech community started a religion… based on AI as a god-like entity.
Self-driving vehicle wunderkind and robotics savant Anthony Levandowski, who is at the center of a highly contentious billion-dollar lawsuit between Google and Uber, founded a religion called Way of the Future back in 2015. According to a fascinating read on Wired, Levandowski’s plan for the new religion was to “develop and promote the realization of a Godhead based on Artificial Intelligence.”
We could have a very, very long conversation on whether an AI could achieve god-like status, but suffice to say no less than Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking and about a thousand science fiction writers have warned us that allowed to develop unchecked, a super-intelligent AI could indeed resemble a god-like entity – for better, or for much, much worse. Again, check out the Wired article and let us know what you think about an AI god in comments.
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.