Amazon released another “intelligent personal assistant” last week. The gadget itself is interesting, but it’s getting more attention for its ‘cheesy advertisement’. Is it really that bad???
Read the article (alone or with a tutor) and watch the video. See if you can apply these technology-related expressions to your favorite electronic devices: gadget, bark, activation, command, handy.
[Technology★]Amazon’s Weird New Robot Speaker
(P1) On Thursday, Amazon introduced what might just be its weirdest gadget yet. It’s called the Echo. Essentially it’s a Wi-Fi-connected speaker you can talk to, sort of like Siri or Google Now. To wake it up, just bark the activation word “Alexa.”
(P2) You can ask Echo questions and issue all sorts of commands, per Amazon, like:
– Set an alarm for 8 a.m.
– How many teaspoons are in a tablespoon?
– Play music by Bruno Mars
– Will it rain tomorrow?
– Add gelato to my shopping list.
(P3) Echo syncs with a companion app in Fire OS and Android, and you can also stream other music services outside of Amazon via Bluetooth, like Spotify or iTunes. It relies on something called far-field voice recognition to hear you from wherever you are in the room, but blah blah blah—don’t take my word for it. Let this Cool Dad casted by Amazon explain it in this handy video; bonus points if you make it through the whole thing:
TO PRINT: [T022A] AMAZON NEW ROBOT SPEAKER
If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.
- Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
- (P1) What is Echo? What do you need to do to activate the machine?
- What things can you do with Echo? What things would you like to do with Echo?
- Do you think you’ll buy Echo if it’s available in your country? Why or why not?
- What do you think of “intelligent personal assistants” developed by different companies? What potential do you see in this technology?
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