You talkin’ to me? Google Duplex tech takes A.I. chatbots to the next level

Paging Alan Turing

Most of us know when we’re talking to a robot or a robotic voice on the phone. But what if your in-home digital assistant could make some calls for you and the person on the other end of the line had no idea they were talking to Alexa, or Siri, or Google Assistant? One of the demos shown at Google’s I/O conference yesterday was pretty stunning. Called Google Duplex, it’s basically a natural-voice type of interaction system for your Google Assistant, wherein your homebot makes call for you to schedule an appointment or do other tasks.

C/NET’s Andrew Gebhart gave it a go and seeing how the system uses very human-like pauses such as “um” and so on, it’s almost impossible to tell that a machine is one of the parties talking. Which one is the robot? Watch the whole video for the answer. It’s clearly a big step forward for A.I. tech that directly interacts with humans. Duplex is not available yet, but at some point it will be, and it’s a pretty good look at the future capabilities of our new homebot friends. Check out the amazing full video along with our complete coverage of Google’s I/O event.

And now: Chatbot playdates

Speaking of chatty AIs getting… ever more chatty, one of the big announcements at Microsoft’s Build event this year was the revelation that Amazon’s Alexa AI bot and Microsoft Cortana counterpart will make friends and possibly share in the future subjugation of all humanity!

But, right before that happens, the two will have tea and play nice while helping you with your daily human difficulties. Yes, you’re going to have to say “Alexa, open Cortana” or visa versa, but once open, the demo at the Build show indicates they’ll pretty much work as normal. It’s still in Beta of course, but you can sign up to keep up on how the project is going.

Enjoy those 250 TOS updates on your phone

Over to Apple now, and the walled garden is getting some weeding done as Cupertino appears to be cracking down on apps that send location data to third parties. Apps have been disappearing from the App Store if they’ve been found to be in violation of Apple’s data location codicils, known as 5.1.1 and 5.1.2.

Part of the housecleaning is due to recent privacy snafus across the tech industry in general, but app makers and tech companies in general are feeling the heat from the upcoming “GDPR” data privacy standards about to take effect in Europe. And since app makers don’t really want to make a bunch of versions of their apps for separate countries or regions, it seems like the GDPR rules are becoming unintentionally defacto here in the states and elsewhere as well.

So who’s apps are getting their plugs pulled? Hard to tell straight away as they are reposted once in compliance, but you can bet more and more are going to go ghost for a little while as the GDPR deadline of May 25th draws ever closer.

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

Smart Home

Hands-on with the Glas, the most beautiful thermostat you’ve ever seen

Johnson Controls today opened the doors for consumers to buy Glas, the company's answer to Nest and Ecobee, the Honeywell Lyric, and basically every other company that thought it would turn that simple round dial on the wall on its ear.

Galaxy Note 9 hands-on, MicroLED vs. OLED, Apple hacked, Robot actor

On today's episode: We have a hands on look at Samsung's Galaxy Note 9 and what makes it different than other phones. Would you rather have an OLED, or MicroLED television? Caleb Denison will tell you what the differences are. Plus, Apple…
Smart Home

The Glas thermostat is now available and works with Cortana, Alexa, and Google

Microsoft just debuted its very own smart thermostat (the first that it's created), and of course, it can be controlled via voice with Microsoft's virtual assistant Cortana. It also works with Alexa and Google Assistant.
Smart Home

Cortana and Alexa can now call each other as new relationship begins

Microsoft and Amazon announced a public preview of Cortana and Alexa integration. U.S. customers can now open Cortana with Alexa and vice versa. Basic functions such as calendars and shopping lists are available with the preview.
DT Daily

The sound of silence? Jaguar gives iPace electric car a Jetsons buzz

Jaguar gives their new electric car a bit of a buzz, Apple plans on blocking new way law enforcement accesses locked iPhones, Sony has its hands full of complains about Fortnite access on the Nintendo Switch.
DT Daily

Be the king of Kong again as the iconic game lands on the Nintendo Switch

Rescue the princess and find true (retro) love as Donkey Kong comes to the Nintendo Switch, Grayshift says they can beat Apple's new security move, foldable Samsung phone may be just months away.
DT Daily

Apple iOS 12 update will include precise location data if you call 911

Apple says tech from RapidSOS will pinpoint your location in a 911 call, Microsoft snaps up student video maker company FlipGrid, we bring the bump and new audio tech to a DT staffer's mature car.
DT Daily

Call the Beastie Boys, Elon says there’s sabotage going on at Tesla

Apple fined millions by Australia for 2016 'Error 53' debacle, Elon says everyone is out to get Tesla including a disgruntled worker, Google's Messenger gets a long-awaited Apple-ish feature.
DT Daily

Not another notch: Oppo’s Find X smartphone camera pops up for pix

Honda's Insight hybrid grows up and turns 20, Microsoft plugs their new News app into an AI, Oppo Find X smartphone camera plays hide and seek.
DT Daily

IGTV video app rolls out right as Instagram tops a billion monthly users

Now you can start losing your digital car keys as well, Instagram (and by extension, Facebook) takes aim at YouTube with the new IGTV app, and Apple wrestles with their complicated wireless charging technology.
DT Daily

Latest LCD Apple iPhone rumors point to cost-cutting design, lower price?

New clues to a possibly less-spendy iPhone X variant emerge, The Glitch Mob takes EDM into VR and on the road "live", Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom opens tonight and we have a review.
DT Daily

Why are some monitor makers using 4K panels in lower resolution models?

German site claims some monitor makers are down-rezzing 4K monitor panels, Apple may debut upgraded AirPods, we have some design idea changes for the next iPhones.