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Exclusive: Xzibit Gets Back To The Basics Of The Makeover Genre, But This Time He's 'Tricking Out' With Amazon's Alexa

For years, Xzibit transformed whips for lucky fans across the nation. However, this time, he is honoring one die-hard football fan with the ultimate fan cave and even tapped artificial intelligence to do so. The musician, who served as the face of MTV’s “Pimp My Ride,” is a fan of the way technology has evolved, allowing entertainers to have a personal experience with fans across the globe.

Shanique Yates

Sep 14, 2022

Want To Talk Your Dead Grandma? Amazon Alexa Has A New Feature In The Works To Communicate In The Afterlife

Are you missing a loved one or family member? Well, people may soon be able to have their deceased relative read the latest news headline with the introduction of Amazon Alexa’s new technology (If your mind immediately went to “Black Mirror,” you’re not alone. We thought the same thing). During Amazon’s re:MARS conference, the tech giant announced that the new feature would be a way for users to hold on to their fondest memories by connecting to familiar voices in the afterlife. During his presentation, Senior Vice President and Head Scientist for Alexa Artificial Intelligence, Rohit Prasad, showed how the new voice options could mimic the voice of a dead relative. Once Alexa listens to the voice for at least one minute, the smart assistant can simulate the desired voice when speaking. Making the seemingly eerie technology real, a video of the upcoming Alexa feature showed a child asking their grandmother to read them “The Wizard of Oz.” Immediately recognizing the request, Alexa’s...

Josh Rodgers

Jun 23, 2022

Amazon's Alexa Challenges A 10-Year-Old To Perform A Deadly Act

Alexa was tripping! According to BBC News, the Amazon voice assistant challenged a young girl to perform a dangerous act. Now the company is making a change. After a 10-year old asked the voice assistant for a challenge to do, Alexa instructed the child to “touch” a coin to the prongs of a half-inserted plug. Her mother took to Twitter to detail what happened. OMFG My 10 year old just asked Alexa on our Echo for a challenge and this is what she said. — Kristin Livdahl (@klivdahl) December 26, 2021

Shanique Yates

Dec 29, 2021

Michael B. Jordan is the Voice — and Body — of Amazon's Alexa in New Super Bowl Ad

If you’re the type of person to watch the Super Bowl for the ads, you’re in for a treat this Sunday, Feb. 7. According to Engadget, Michael B. Jordan — “Black Panther” star, People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive, Lori Harvey’s official boyfriend, and the Internet’s unofficial boyfriend — has been announced as the voice and body of Amazon’s Alexa. The commercial, which is titled “Alexa’s Body” will make its debut when the Chiefs face off against the Buccaneers. It features an Amazon employee marveling at the new Echo model (which retails for the reasonable price of $100) before drifting off to a daydream. A bus pulls up outside, and the bus features an ad-within-an-ad of Michael B. Jordan advertising “Without Remorse,” a new series featured on — where else? — Amazon Prime. Check out a clip of the ad below: In other Amazon news, Jeff Bezos has announced that he’s recently stepped down as the CEO of the company, and will instead take on an executive role. Andy Jassy will replace Bezos as...

How James E. West Co-Invented the Electret Microphone

If you’ve ever called out to Siri, Alexa, or Google and got a response from the device you were using, you’re talking to a microphone designed by Dr. James E. West and his colleague Gerhard Sessler. West is an inventor and professor who helped create the Electret Microphone, an invention that accounts for 90 percent of all microphones producing clear and crisp sound today, according to He was born on Feb. 10, 1931, in Farmville, VA. West received his bachelor’s degree from Temple University in 1957 and soon after graduating, was employed by Bell Laboratories. While working at Bell, he teamed up with fellow scientist, Gerhard Sessler and the duo created a device that eliminated the need for an external power source to convert sound into an electrical signal. By 1968, the electret microphone was the industry standard. West used the momentum from his professional success at Bell Labs to lead minority internship and hiring initiatives. According to U.S. News, he also...

Abriana Walton

Feb 3, 2021

At Home Whether Near Or Far With Portal From Facebook

I’ve been using the Amazon Echo Show in my home for roughly the last six months. My kids love it as they can two-step and cowboy boogie to Blanco Brown anytime they like, so long as it’s not quiet time. It’s great for calling up music and video clips, news and the weather, but with the prevalence and growth of technologies like Apple’s Facetime, it does leave a lot on the table with its video calling features. I can ‘drop in’ (place a video call) to my home and see a live video feed using the Alexa app, but I couldn’t tell you how to place a video call from the Echo show. Does it even have that capability? I could Google it, but the fact that I have to should say it all. This is where Portal by Facebook shines. Whether intentional or not, Facebook appears to be only highlighting the media features Portal supports like Spotify and Amazon Prime on the edges and going hard on the features that allow you to stay connected. Andrew Bosworth, hardware boss at Facebook, said during a recent...

Will Lucas

Sep 25, 2019

A Newly Released Amazon Patent Raises More Privacy Concerns Regarding Alexa

Virtual assistants may be growing in popularity, but a newly released Amazon patent reveals the privacy concerns surrounding them. All virtual assistants have a “wakeword” that tells the device to start listening. Some companies use phrases, like Apple’s “Hey Siri,” but Amazon opted for the simple “Alexa” when developing its system. An Amazon patent application filed in January and released this week has proposed that the wakeword shouldn’t exist. Instead, Alexa should listen to and record everything said in its presence. The authors argued that users may not always structure a spoken command so that the device picks up on it. For example, instead of saying “Alexa, play some music” someone may say, “play some music Alexa” or “play some music Alexa, the Beatles please.” If the wakeword isn’t said first, then Alexa isn’t turned on to actually hear and respond to the full command. The authors go on to say: “The [proposed] system is configured to capture speech that precedes and/or...

Vanessa Taylor

May 29, 2019

Welp, It Looks Like Amazon Employees Can Access Your Address Thanks To Alexa

Amazon’s Alexa seems to have become a privacy nightmare. Last month, a Bloomberg report revealed Amazon workers are listening to what you tell Alexa. Now, Bloomberg is back with another, more chilling update. According to a new report , Amazon’s Alexa team can access users’ home addresses. Employees told the outlet that team members with access to users’ geographic coordinates can “easily” put them into any map software and find exactly where people live. There haven’t been any cases of people abusing this power or information, but it’s still a feature that gives employees “unnecessarily broad access to customer data.” Amazon doesn’t deny Bloomberg’s recent report. A spokesperson told Gizmodo: “Access to internal tools is highly controlled, and is only granted to a limited number of employees who require these tools to train and improve the service by processing an extremely small sample of interactions. Our policies strictly prohibit employee access or use of customer data for any...

Vanessa Taylor

Apr 25, 2019