Toyota’s big announcement at CES is that they will begin offering Alexa in certain car models starting in late 2018. The car manufacturer said that it will launch Alexa beginning with the Entune 3.0 App Suite and the Lexus Enform App Suite 2.0 vehicle system software updates for select 2018 models without requiring additional hardware to support the virtual assistant. Features from Alexa’s capabilities that will be available in the cars include control of the car’s entertainment system, building to-do lists and smart-home device services like remotely setting the temperature in your home before arrival or opening the garage door. While other car companies like Ford and BMW have announced their intentions to offer Alexa support in coming 2018 models, Toyota is the first to announce specifics of the release.
In tech news, Intel also made waves at CES regarding the security breach of computer chips world-wide, which over the past few months affected several chip manufacturing companies. Intel CEO, Brian Krzanich, spoke on the security breach that affected Intel, ARM and AMD chips in the past months, mentioning that industry professionals had been working to resolve the situation before details came into public scrutiny. As the provider of 80% of the world’s desktop chips and 90% of laptop chips, Intel was seen as the public face of the security breach. Matthew Hickey, a cyber-security expert at Hacker House, speculated that while the software updates from Intel, expected to be released in the coming week, will solve many security breach issues, others will require a bigger fix and therefore a longer wait. Experts note that while the problem is widespread, it is unclear whether hackers will take advantage of the scope of the situation, but advise caution nonetheless.
AI has also been in the news this week, with AI company Recognant announcing their launch of Unpartial, the reportedly first AI tool for determining the “trustworthiness” of a news story. The tool will be available as a Chrome plugin and readers will be able to use it to help determine the trustworthiness of an article (note: this does not mean “validity,” as the tool doesn’t verify links) on a scale of “Seems Legit,” “Consider a More Reputable Source,” “Seems Sketchy,” “Super Shady” and “Fake News.” In testing stages, the tool was able to accurately rank articles previously categorized by humans 99% of the time.
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In conference news we have just published our 2018 Top 100 Digital Conferences list! Conferences are one of the most valuable investments entrepreneurs can make in their professional future, offering ample opportunity to meet experts and cohorts in a given field, so we have taken the time to update our hugely popular article with dates for new and existing conferences, as well as some comments about our experiences at those we attended last year!
To kick things off in 2018, Founder Thomas Smale had a great experience attending this year’s Affiliate Summit West in Las Vegas, where he heard several interesting speakers discuss the future of affiliate marketing and met with many of our valued clients. He also stopped by CES, where he got the chance to catch up on the biggest news in tech and digital industries. Next up for Thomas is The North American Bitcoin Conference in Miami from January 18-19, where he will be meeting up with several clients and industry experts. Shoot us a reply if you are attending or will be in the local area and would like to meet up. Be sure to mark your calendars for our next Boston E-Commerce Meetup on January 31 at WeWork South Station from 6-8pm! The panel topic will be “Best Ad Strategies for E-Commerce Businesses,” so keep an eye out for our list of expert panelists in the coming weeks. In the meantime, you can subscribe to the meetup here.
Continue reading below for more on Toyota’s integration with Alexa, Intel’s plans to recover the computer chip security breach, and Recognant’s new AI tool for ranking the trustworthiness of articles.
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In the News…
Toyota to Release Alexa in Cars Later this Year
At CES this year, Toyota announced that they will offer support for Amazon Alexa within their cars, with no additional hardware required.
While many companies have added Alexa as an afterthought, Toyota is the first automaker to offer support for the virtual assistant. On Tuesday, Toyota announced that it will be deploying Alexa beginning with its Entune 3.0 App Suite and Lexus Enform App Suite and Lexus Enform App Suite 2.0 vehicle system software updates for select 2018 model year vehicles. Otherwise, models will get Alexa support beginning in 2019. Included in the skillset of the auto-Alexa version will be nearly feature-complete, which means drivers will be able to get news updates, control media, create to-do lists, remotely control the temperature in their homes, or open the garage door with a voice command.
Other companies like Ford and BMW have previously announced their plans to begin adding Alexa support to the model lineup.
Intel Announces Fix to Security Breach
Intel has announced at CES that they are working to resolve the security breach affecting their chips with the aim of having it resolved by next week.
This week at the CES conference, Intel’s chief executive has said software fixes to address the recently discovered Meltdown and Spectre bugs in microchips would be released in the next few days. Brian Krzanich, who made a keynote address at the CES conference, said that 90% of processors and products from the last five years would be patched “within a week.” Last week, two major bugs were revealed in computer chips which could allow hackers to steal sensitive data. According to Google researchers, one of the most serious security flaws, which was nicknamed “Spectre,” was found in chips made by Intel, AMD and ARM. While details of the breach have only recently come to light, the industry has been aware of the problem for months and working to resolve it before details went public.
Affected chips include those dating back to 1995. Intel has been releasing software updates, or “patches,” over the past week.
New AI Tool Can Determine Trustworthiness of an Article
Artificial Intelligence company Recognant has launched Unpartial, the reportedly first AI tool for determining the “trustworthiness” of a story.
While Recognant describes the tool as a fake news detector, it is in reality a “trustworthiness” detector because it does not check facts or validate sources, but rather uses generated rules to determine the validity of a story. As it currently stands, the tool is only appropriate for content of about 300 words or more. Unpartial check factors such as whether an article’s conclusions are too biased based on the information presented within the article, if the claims are backed up, and if the math adds up. Additionally, it considers the correctness of grammar, the density of facts and the presence of subjective statements. The tool operates as a plugin, and so can be employed on a given article by clicking on the UN button I the browser toolbar when the article is open. The tool categorizes content into “Seems legit,” “Consider a More Reputable Source,” “Seems Sketchy,” “Super Shady” and “Fake News.” As a test, Recognant fed Unpartial 10,000 articles whose trustworthiness had previously been determined by humans, and the system matched the human ratings 99 per cent of the time.
Recognant CEO said the decision to release the plugin came about because of how many people are affected by low quality sources and they “had the pieces lying around.”
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