HomePod & No Strings Attached

The.Daily.Spoon

And then there were three…

Amazon has the Echo, Google has Google Home, and now Apple has the Homepod.

Apple is taking an approach that’s fairly unique to the growing industry of virtual assistants and artificial intelligence, but it’s actually an approach they’ve used frequently as a company. As TechCrunch notes, “Apple is the master of the slow invasion.” By which they mean that Apple’s personal tech started as the iPod, just for music, then expanded to playing videos, then blew into the iPhone that is literally a supercomputer in your pocket.

In a similar manner, the new HomePod (and the marketing around it) is focused more on its capabilities as a speaker than its capabilities as an AI-enabled virtual assistant. Let’s face it, we all know that Siri sucks (#sorrynotsorry). But they’re bringing machine learning engineers on board to help them develop the Siri voice assistant into something on a comparable (or even, eventually, superior) level to Amazon’s Alexa or Google Assistant.

So basically… the HomePod is a super fancy, small-scale speaker with amazing sound resolution. It’s supposed to “measure” the room that it’s in for optimal sound performance, and Apple touts that it is very easy to pair up with your iPhone and that it works great with Apple Music (surprise, surprise). It remains to be seen if the smart-home connectivity can compare with or eventually overtake Amazon or Google.

*cue Jaws music*

No strings attached

What would you do if someone gave you $140 million??

MIT is figuring it out.

Recently, an anonymous MIT alum donated $140 million to the university and designated it as “unrestricted” – meaning that the university can designate the money to just about anything they want to, as long as it’s related to education or research.

One of the options that they could put some (or all) of the money toward is their Campaign for a Better World, which has a goal of raising $5 billion to support research into and help for environmental and humanitarian issues worldwide. They’ve already raised $3.4 billion from over 80,000 donors!

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