Alexa is now asking you the questions

Alexa is now asking questions to consumers

Hunches are the Amazon name for machine learning triggers that anticipate, most frequently correctly, what you want Alexa to do. Alexa may ask you, upon hearing you walk into the kitchen, if you want to turn on the coffee maker, as you do daily. Alexa usage has quadrupled over the past two years, and the devices are getting better and better at understanding our patterns and habits. CNET

dis-rup-shun: Creepy or cool? On the one hand, one must remember that Alexa’s “mind” is only a series of algorithms that become more accurate the more data they have to factor into their calculations. On the other hand, if a third-party has the ability to analyze this data for unauthorized or un-known purposes, conflict is coming. What is a fact, is that voice has already become an important part of our interaction with machines and will likely be used to start the car engine or select the floor for the elevator to stop. Touchless controls will be more important to a pandemic-aware society, and those that resist will find it increasingly difficult to function in many settings.

Big Tech goes to Washington

Big Tech companies have been summoned to testify before Congress on Monday and discuss anti-competitive practices. Wired’s scathing account of how competition is dead, and has been for a couple of decades among the tech giants, spares Apple from bad boy status. Amazon has altered commerce, Google has created a curated Internet, and Facebook has fueled extremism in America, according to Wired.

dis-rup-shun: If competition is good for both business and consumers, and if the U.S. and Western nations are experiencing unprecedented income inequalities, then it will important to see if the visit with Congress next week leads to any real action by regulators, or more “window dressing.”

Intel announces chip delay 

Intel’s stock price was hammered in the markets yesterday after the company announced an expected six month delay on its next generation product – 7 nanometer processors. The delay will cause Intel’s largest PC customers, including Dell and HP, to delay new product offerings. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: Will Intel’s dominance over intelligent devices ever return? Not likely, as the chip making business, as the delay announcement reminds us, is a very difficult and precise business. Intel owned personal computing, but recently lost Apple, as the company has moved to making its own semiconductors. Intel mostly missed the mobile market, and the Internet of Things business consists of hundreds of device types, so being really good at more than a few will be exceedingly difficult. Note that Intel’s execs were not invited to the antitrust conversation in Washington this Monday, as the chip company is no longer a candidate for limiting competition.

Microsoft shows off Halo Infinite

Microsoft’s Xbox Series X preview session live streamed yesterday, teasing the public with views of new games. Front and center was Halo’s new release, Halo Infinite, which boasts bolder and bigger graphics at 10x the frame rates of prior versions. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: The Halo franchise has been the biggest driver for Xbox, and Microsoft is counting on the sequel reviving the core market’s appetites for another helping to the tune of  probably close to $400 or more for the Series X console, plus the game. Our society has greatly changed in the last few years, and have the tastes of core gamers changed as well, such that they are less interested in Halo and other first-person shooters? Microsoft conducts a great deal of research, and has apparently concluded that the core buyer is still a shooter.