Amazon is Working on Giving Their Alexa Virtual Assistant the Ability to Mimic the Voices of Dead Relatives

Amazon’s personal digital assistant Alexa is on track to gain a new ability – replicating the voices of family members, even if they’re dead.

The capability was unveiled at an Amazon conference this past week in Las Vegas.

The feature is still in development, but it would allow Alexa to mimic the voice of a specific person based on less than a minute of provided recording.

Rohit Prasad, the head scientist for Alexa, said the desire behind the capability was to build greater trust in people’s interactions with Alexa by putting in more “human attributes of empathy and affect.”

Prasad said, “While A.I. [Artificial Intelligence] can’t eliminate that pain of loss, it can definitely make their memories last.”

He then played a video at the event with a young child asking, “Alexa, can Grandma finish reading me the Wizard of Oz?” Alexa then switches to an artificial voice that mimics the child’s grandmother.

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Source: CBN

Elon Musk’s ‘I-Robot’ With ‘Unique Human Personality’ Set to Be Ready in Three Months

An I-Robot which can develop a unique human personality will be ready in just months, Elon Musk has revealed.

The tech tycoon will unveil a prototype of the humanoid called ‘Optimus’ during Tesla’s ‘Al Day’ event on September 30.

The 125-pound bot is 5ft 8inchs and will be capable of dead-lifting 150 pounds ( 69kg) while carrying 45 pounds (21kg).

Optimus’ face features a screen display of information and will be fitted with autopilot software, reports LadBible.

Musk says it will include eight cameras to feed into the neural network, which is said to match the functions of the human brain.

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Source: Daily Star

How to Scrub Yourself From the Internet as Best as You Can

Data brokers collect detailed information about who we are based on our things like our online activity, real world purchases and public records. Together, it’s enough to figure out your political leanings and health status, even if you’re pregnant. Friday’s news that the Supreme Court had overturned Roe v. Wade, and abortion could become illegal in at 13 states within a month, highlight concerns about ways these piles of information could be used.

You can’t fully scrub yourself from the internet. A little bit of you will always linger, whether it’s in data-broker databases, on old social media you forgot about or in the back of someone else’s vacation photos on Flickr.

That’s no reason to give up! You can absolutely take steps to protect your privacy by cleaning up things like your Google results. For the best results you’ll need time, money, patience, and to live in a country or state with strong privacy laws.

This week’s Ask Help Desk question is all about the data brokers: “How do I get my information deleted from data aggregators?” asks Jennifer Swindell, from Sagle, Idaho. But first, we’re going to take a step back and start with something a little more public.

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Source: MSN

Former Tesla Contractor in Racial Discrimination Case Refuses to Accept Jury Award After Judge Slashes It by 89%

Contract employees Owen Diaz, right, and Demetric Diaz stand for a photograph in Oakland, California, U.S., on Tuesday April 10, 2018. The two are suing Tesla, along with contracting firms West Valley Staffing Group and Citistaff Solutions, alleging a pattern of racial harassment and hostility. In the Diaz lawsuit, both men say they were regularly subject to racist epithets by co-workers and supervisors. (© Photographer: Michael Short/Bloomberg)

A former Tesla Inc. contractor has refused to accept $15 million in damages over racist abuse he was subjected to at the electric vehicle maker’s northern California factory after a judge drastically slashed a $137 million jury verdict. Continue reading “Former Tesla Contractor in Racial Discrimination Case Refuses to Accept Jury Award After Judge Slashes It by 89%”

Spotify Down for Thousands of Users

June 21 (Reuters) – Spotify Technology SA (SPOT.N) was down for thousands of users on Tuesday, according to outage tracking website

There were more than 10,000 incidents of people reporting issues with the audio-streaming platform, according to Downdetector, which tracks outages by collating status reports from a number of sources including user-submitted errors on its platform.

The outage may be affecting a larger number of users. Spotify did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Source: Reuters

Is Google Dying? One of the Most-used Tools on the Internet Is Not What It Used to Be.

A few weeks ago my house had a septic-tank emergency, which is as awful as it sounds. As unspeakable things began to burble up from my shower drain, I did what any smartphone-dependent person would: I frantically Googled something along the lines of poop coming from shower drain bad what to do. I was met with a slew of cookie-cutter websites, most of which appeared hastily generated and were choked with enough repetitive buzzwords as to be barely readable. Virtually everything I found was unhelpful, so we did the old-fashioned thing and called a professional. The emergency came and went, but I kept thinking about those middling search results—how they typified a zombified internet wasteland.

Like many, I use Google to answer most of the mundane questions that pop up in my day-to-day life. And yet that first page of search results feels like it’s been surfacing fewer satisfying answers lately. I’m not alone; the frustration has become a persistent meme: that Google Search, what many consider an indispensable tool of modern life, is dead or dying. For the past few years, across various forums and social-media platforms, people have been claiming in viral posts that Google’s flagship product is broken. Search google dying on Twitter or Reddit and you can see people grousing about it going back to the mid 2010s. Lately, though, the criticisms have grown louder.

In February, an engineer named Dmitri Brereton wrote a blog post about Google’s search-engine decay, rounding up leading theories for why the product’s “results have gone to shit.” The post quickly shot to the top of tech forums such as Hacker News and was widely shared on Twitter and even prompted a PR response from Google’s Search liaison, Danny Sullivan, refuting one of Brereton’s claims. “You said in the post that quotes don’t give exact matches. They really do. Honest,” Sullivan wrote in a series of tweets.

Brereton’s most intriguing argument for the demise of Google Search was that savvy users of the platform no longer type instinctive keywords into the search bar and hit “Enter.” The best Googlers—the ones looking for actionable or niche information, product reviews, and interesting discussions—know a cheat code to bypass the sea of corporate search results clogging the top third of the screen. “Most of the web has become too inauthentic to trust,” Brereton argued, therefore “we resort to using Google, and appending the word ‘reddit’ to the end of our queries.” Brereton cited Google Trends data that show that people are searching the word reddit on Google more than ever before.

Instead of scrolling through long posts littered with pop-up ads and paragraphs of barely coherent SEO chum to get to a review or a recipe, clever searchers got lively threads with testimonials from real people debating and interacting with one another. Most who use the Reddit hack are doing so for practical reasons, but it’s also a small act of protest—a way to stick it to the Search Engine Optimization and Online Ad Industrial Complex and to attempt to access a part of the internet that feels freer and more human.

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Source: the Atlantic

SpaceX Fires at Least Five Employees After Discovering They Drafted and Circulated Letter Criticizing Elon Musk and Urging More Inclusivity at Company

Private rocket company SpaceX fired at least five employees after it found they had drafted and circulated a letter criticizing founder Elon Musk and urging executives to make the firm’s culture more inclusive, two people familiar with the matter said. Continue reading “SpaceX Fires at Least Five Employees After Discovering They Drafted and Circulated Letter Criticizing Elon Musk and Urging More Inclusivity at Company”

NATO-backed Strategic Communications Chief Warns That Telegram Is ‘Not a Secure Platform’

Telegram, a leading encrypted messaging and social media application, has been compromised by Russia, according to a NATO-backed assessment.

“Telegram is not really as it used to be,” Janis Sarts, the director of NATO’s Strategic Communications Center of Excellence in Riga, Latvia, told the Washington Examiner. “I do have reasons to believe that there is not full integrity. … Certainly, I would not see it as a secure platform.”

The messaging service, founded in Dubai by a Russian tech titan who has clashed with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s surveillance apparatus, rocketed to global popularity in 2014 as one of the first applications to offer users the ability to communicate on an encrypted line. It proved valuable to Belarusian protesters who denounced President Alexander Lukashenko’s self-declared victory in a 2020 presidential election, but a warning about the program has begun to circulate among Western officials.

“I don’t think it’s fully safe,” he said.

Sarts hesitated to detail the basis for his doubts about the security of the platform, but he confirmed that his concerns apply to the reliability of the encryption, in addition to the disinformation risks. “The integrity of that platform is under the question, from my perspective,” he said.

Roskomnadzor, the Russian censorship agency, imposed a ban on the app in 2018 because of Telegram co-founder Pavel Durov’s refusal to cooperate with “any request from the Russian [security] services,” as he put it at the time. In 2021, the censors cited Durov’s “stated readiness to counter terrorism and extremism” as a basis for lifting the ban, which they had struggled to implement.

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Source: Washington Examiner

Leaked Memo Says Amazon Knows It Could Run Out of Workers for Its Warehouses by 2024

The logo of Amazon is seen at the company logistics centre in Boves, France, August 8, 2018. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

Amazon is going to have to do something to avoid potentially running out of workers, according to an internal memo from last year obtained by Recode. Continue reading “Leaked Memo Says Amazon Knows It Could Run Out of Workers for Its Warehouses by 2024”