Hey, Google? Alexa? Am I At Risk for Alzheimer’s?: UMass Boston Professor Part of $1.1M Research Project (UMass Boston)

UMass Boston: Hey, Google? Alexa? Am I At Risk for Alzheimer’s?: UMass Boston Professor Part of $1.1M Research Project. “Assistant Professor of Computer Science Xiaohui Liang is leading a four-year $1,179,714 National Institute on Aging (NIA)-funded research project to use Voice Assistant Systems, such as Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home, to detect early cognitive impairment. Early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias in older adults living alone is essential for developing, planning, and ensuring adequate support at home for patients and their families.”

Smashing Magazine: Creating Voice Skills For Google Assistant And Amazon Alexa

Smashing Magazine: Creating Voice Skills For Google Assistant And Amazon Alexa. “Voice assistants are hopping out of emerging tech and into everyday life. As a front end developer, you already have the skills to build one, so let’s dive into the platforms.” This is a giant technical dive and definitely not for beginners.

The Next Web: UK Alexa users can now get answers to medical questions right from the NHS

The Next Web: UK Alexa users can now get answers to medical questions right from the NHS. “Amazon’s Alexa is all set to gain medical smarts in the UK, thanks to a partnership with the National Health Service (NHS). The healthcare service said it’s teaming up with Amazon‘s voice assistant to help answer medical queries with advice from the service’s official website.”

CNET: Amazon Alexa keeps your data with no expiration date, and shares it too

CNET: Amazon Alexa keeps your data with no expiration date, and shares it too. “Sen. Chris Coons, a Democrat from Delaware, sent a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in May, demanding answers on Alexa and how long it kept voice recordings and transcripts, as well as what the data gets used for. The letter came after CNET’s report that Amazon kept transcripts of interactions with Alexa, even after people deleted the voice recordings.”

CNET: Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri will get smarter this year. Here’s how.

CNET: Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri will get smarter this year. Here’s how.. “Google I/O, the tech giant’s annual developer conference took place in May and there was a lot of smart home news. Apple’s own yearly conference, WWDC, just happened too. And Amazon’s re:MARS conference is currently underway. That makes this a particularly busy time for smart home announcements, particularly related to Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri. Let’s explore the most recent changes to get a better sense of each assistant’s strengths, as well as where they need the most work — and what we hope to see in the future.”

CNET: Amazon’s Echo Dot Kids violates privacy regulations, child advocates say

CNET: Amazon’s Echo Dot Kids violates privacy regulations, child advocates say. “Children’s advocates want the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Amazon over privacy concerns. Nineteen consumer and public health advocacy groups, led by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and the Center for Digital Democracy, are asking the FTC to look into Amazon’s Echo Dot Kids Edition, they said Thursday.”

Washington Post: Alexa has been eavesdropping on you this whole time

Washington Post: Alexa has been eavesdropping on you this whole time. “For as much as we fret about snooping apps on our computers and phones, our homes are where the rubber really hits the road for privacy. It’s easy to rationalize away concerns by thinking a single smart speaker or appliance couldn’t know enough to matter. But across the increasingly connected home, there’s a brazen data grab going on, and there are few regulations, watchdogs or common-sense practices to keep it in check. Let’s not repeat the mistakes of Facebook in our smart homes. Any personal data that’s collected can and will be used against us. An obvious place to begin: Alexa, stop recording us.”

State of Iowa: Governor Reynolds Launches “Ask the State of Iowa” with Google Home and Amazon Echo Skills

State of Iowa: Governor Reynolds Launches “Ask the State of Iowa” with Google Home and Amazon Echo Skills . “Governor Kim Reynolds, Lt. Gov. Gregg, and Chief Information Officer Jeff Franklin announced today that Iowa is expanding its communication channels and services to include Google Home, Amazon Echo, and a chatbot. Iowans can now ask their smartphone or Google/Amazon digital assistant questions about state government events and services.”

Bloomberg: Amazon Workers Are Listening to What You Tell Alexa

Bloomberg: Amazon Workers Are Listening to What You Tell Alexa. “Tens of millions of people use smart speakers and their voice software to play games, find music or trawl for trivia. Millions more are reluctant to invite the devices and their powerful microphones into their homes out of concern that someone might be listening. Sometimes, someone is.”

Wired: Alexa’s Had a Big Year, Mostly Thanks to Machine Learning

Wired: Alexa’s Had a Big Year, Mostly Thanks to Machine Learning. “It’s fair to say that when Amazon introduced the first Echo speaker in the fall of 2014, most people weren’t quite sure what to make of it. In the intervening years, Echo and the broader universe of Alexa-powered devices have transitioned from curiosity to ubiquity. But while you can find Alexa in just about everything—including, yes, a microwave—the real progress Amazon’s voice assistant made in 2018 came less from breadth than from depth.”

VentureBeat: Some Alexa Prize chatbots exposed customer data, talked filth

VentureBeat: Some Alexa Prize chatbots exposed customer data, talked filth. “Millions of users of Amazon’s Echo speakers have grown accustomed to the soothing strains of Alexa, the human-sounding virtual assistant that can tell them the weather, order takeout and handle other basic tasks in response to a voice command. So a customer was shocked last year when Alexa blurted out: ‘Kill your foster parents.'”

Engadget: Judge tells Amazon to provide Echo recordings in double homicide trial

Engadget: Judge tells Amazon to provide Echo recordings in double homicide trial. “Prosecutors are once again hoping that smart speaker data could be the key to securing a murder conviction. A New Hampshire judge has ordered Amazon to provide recordings from an Echo speaker between January 27th, 2017 and January 29th, 2017 (plus info identifying paired smartphones) to aid in investigating a double homicide case. The court decided there was probable cause to believe the speaker might have captured audio of the murders and their aftermath.”

Ars Technica: Researchers show Alexa “skill squatting” could hijack voice commands

Ars Technica: Researchers show Alexa “skill squatting” could hijack voice commands. “The success of Internet of Things devices such as Amazon’s Echo and Google Home have created an opportunity for developers to build voice-activated applications that connect ever deeper—into customers’ homes and personal lives. And—according to research by a team from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC)—the potential to exploit some of the idiosyncrasies of voice-recognition machine-learning systems for malicious purposes has grown as well.”

Chronicle of Higher Education: Hey, Alexa, Should We Bring Virtual Assistants to Campus? These Colleges Gave Them a Shot

Chronicle of Higher Education: Hey, Alexa, Should We Bring Virtual Assistants to Campus? These Colleges Gave Them a Shot. “Research universities are squeezing an extra roommate into residence halls: Amazon’s Alexa. The Georgia Institute of Technology, Northeastern University, and Arizona State University last year provided students with Echo Dots, puck-shaped, voice-activated devices programmed to answer campus-specific questions about meal plans and business hours for campus buildings.”