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Amazon and Microsoft collaborate to help Alexa and Cortana talk to each other

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August 30,2017
the staff of the Ridgewood blog

SEATTLE,  Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) announced today that Alexa will be able to talk to Cortana, and Cortana will be able to talk to Alexa. You will be able to turn to your Echo device and say, “Alexa, open Cortana,” or turn to your Windows 10 device and say, “Cortana, open Alexa.”

Alexa customers will be able to access Cortana’s unique features like booking a meeting or accessing work calendars, reminding you to pick up flowers on your way home, or reading your work email – all using just your voice. Similarly, Cortana customers can ask Alexa to control their smart home devices, shop on Amazon.com, interact with many of the more than 20,000 skills built by third-party developers, and much more.

“Ensuring Cortana is available for our customers everywhere and across any device is a key priority for us,” said Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft. “Bringing Cortana’s knowledge, Office 365 integration, commitments, and reminders to Alexa is a great step toward that goal.”

“The world is big and so multifaceted. There are going to be multiple successful intelligent agents, each with access to different sets of data and with different specialized skill areas. Together, their strengths will complement each other and provide customers with a richer and even more helpful experience,” said Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO, Amazon. “It’s great for Echo owners to get easy access to Cortana.”

Alexa and Cortana will begin talking to each other later this year.

 

 

 

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Cheer up, the post-human era is dawning

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Martin Rees

Artificial minds will not be confined to the planet on which we have evolved, writes Martin Rees

So vast are the expanses of space and time that fall within an astronomer’s gaze that people in my profession are mindful not only of our moment in history, but also of our place in the wider cosmos. We wonder whether there is intelligent life elsewhere; some of us even search for it. People will not be the culmination of evolution. We are near the dawn of a post-human future that could be just as prolonged as the billions of years of Darwinian selection that preceded humanity’s emergence.

The far future will bear traces of humanity, just as our own age retains influences of ancient civilisations. Humans and all they have thought might be a transient precursor to the deeper cogitations of another culture — one dominated by machines, extending deep into the future and spreading far beyond earth.

Not everyone considers this an uplifting scenario. There are those who fear that artificial intelligence will supplant us, taking our jobs and living beyond the writ of human laws. Others regard such scenarios as too futuristic to be worth fretting over. But the disagreements are about the rate of travel, not the direction. Few doubt that machines will one day surpass more of our distinctively human capabilities. It may take centuries but, compared to the aeons of evolution that led to humanity’s emergence, even that is a mere bat of the eye. This is not a fatalistic projection. It is cause for optimism. The civilisation that supplants us could accomplish unimaginable advances — feats, perhaps, that we cannot even understand.

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/4fe10870-20c2-11e5-ab0f-6bb9974f25d0.html#axzz3fg7lzqAA

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Investor rush to artificial intelligence is real deal

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Investor rush to artificial intelligence is real deal
Richard Waters in San Francisco

Silicon Valley loves a new fad. To judge by the spate of fundraising by start-ups in recent weeks, it has found one in an idea that is more than half a century old: artificial intelligence.

“This is the hot place to be at the moment,” says Stephen Purpura, whose own AI company, Context Relevant, has raised more than $44m since it was founded in 2012. By his reckoning, more than 170 start-ups have jumped on the AI bandwagon.

The newcomers to AI believe that the technology has finally caught up with the hopes, bringing a heightened level of intelligence to computers. They promise a new way for humans to interact with machines — and for the machines to encroach on the world of humans in unexpected ways.

“Technologically, it’s a paradigm shift from putting commands into a box to a time when computers watch you and learn,” says Daniel Nadler, another of the AI hopefuls. His company, Kensho, raised $15m recently in pursuit of an ambitious goal: to train computers to replace expensive white-collar workers such as financial analysts.

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/019b3702-92a2-11e4-a1fd-00144feabdc0.html#axzz3Ny62Foz7