Google says Gmail is now blocking an extra 100M spam messages each day by using TensorFlow-trained machine learning models

Google says Gmail is now blocking an extra 100M spam messages each day by using TensorFlow-trained machine learning models


James Vincent / The Verge:

Google says Gmail is now blocking an extra 100M spam messages each day by using TensorFlow-trained machine learning models  —  Google is using its machine learning platform, TensorFlow, to eke out additional gains  —  Google has recruited its in-house machine learning framework, TensorFlow …

Behold: The smallest Chrome OS computer on the face of the planet

Behold: The smallest Chrome OS computer on the face of the planet

If we were gamblers here at BGR Deals, we would definitely be that you’ve never heard of the ASUS CHROMEBIT CS10 Stick-Desktop PC until now. We would also bet that you won’t soon forget it. This awesome little gadget is the size of a flash drive and it even looks just like a flash drive. This is no memory stick, though. It’s actually a full-fledged Chrome OS computer that you can connect to the HDMI port on any TV or monitor to instantly transform it into a Chrome desktop computer!

Here are the highlights from the product page:

  • Smallest Chrome OS device, turn any HDMI display into a computer and 100 GB google drive space
  • Dual-band a/b/g/n/ac 802.11 Wi-Fi with Bluetooth 4.0 for fast connections and wireless peripheral compatibility
  • 16 GB Flash memory storage with easily accessible USB 2.0 slot for expanded storage or wired peripherals
  • Included HDMI extender cable and 4 hook and loop stickers allow for more options in setting up Chromebit
  • Thousands of Chrome OS apps allows for work and play in a portable package.Power supply:18 W Power adapter

Amazon has 10,000 employees dedicated to Alexa — here are some of the areas they’re working on

Amazon has 10,000 employees dedicated to Alexa — here are some of the areas they’re working on

  • Amazon’s VP of Alexa, Steve Rabuchin, has confirmed that yes, there really are 10,000 Amazon employees working on Alexa and Echo
  • Those employees are focused on everything from machine learning to making Alexa more knowledgeable. 
  • There’s a whole group of employees working on giving Alexa a personality, too. 

Back in November, Amazon’s head of devices, Dave Limp, said that 10,000 of Amazon’s employees work on the company’s Alexa smart assistant and the Echo products it lives in.

Wait, 10,000?!

Yes — according to Steve Rabuchin, Amazon’s VP of Alexa, there really are that many employees devoted to Alexa, and we now have a better idea of what they’re actually working on.  

“That is an accurate number,” Rabuchin told Business Insider at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this month. “We’re so bullish on voice as the future. It’s just so early for voice, and Alexa is great, but there’s so much more that we want her to be able to do in terms of being more interactive, more conversational, and just getting better and better and better.”

Amazon now has more than 600,000 employees worldwide, but 10,000 is a not-insignificant percentage. While Rabuchin didn’t break down exactly how many employees are working on what, he did provide insight into some of the areas Amazon is focused on when it comes to Alexa. 

Read more: Amazon has finally revealed how many Alexa devices have been sold

Unsurprisingly, a portion of the team is focused on the technical aspects of Alexa. Rabuchin said that there’s a team focused solely on machine learning, annotating data to make the statistical models better. This helps Alexa improve over time. 

There’s also a team focused on the question-and-answer function of Alexa. 

“We have a team that’s just feeding the knowledge base all the time for question and answer, and continuing to just increase what we call the knowledge graph. That’s a lot of people doing that,” he said. “We want to be able to answer any question that gets asked of Alexa, and we’ve made a lot of improvements there. There are just thousands of people making her smarter every day.”

Beyond the technical aspects of Alexa, however, there’s an entire team devoted to Alexa’s personality. This division falls under the supervision of Toni Reid, Amazon’s VP of Alexa experience. 

“I think from the beginning, we had a vision for how useful we wanted Alexa to be and someone who you felt was a bit of a companion, who you could speak naturally to,” Rabuchin said. “The team has just always worked to make Alexa a more valued companion and service in your life. There’s a team that just works on how Alexa behaves, how her personality is formed, and what her preferences are when she gets asked a question.” 

Despite competition from Google Assistant, as well as other smart assistants like Apple’s Siri and Samsung’s Bixby, Alexa shows no sign of slowing down: Rabuchin said Amazon has seen “more than a doubling” of customers that now own more than one Alexa device. And earlier this month, Limp revealed to The Verge that more than 100 million devices with Alexa built into them have been sold so far, the first time Amazon has said exactly how many Alexa devices have been sold.

SEE ALSO: The best wearable we saw at CES 2019

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Russia Tries To Force Facebook, Twitter To Relocate Servers To Russia

Russia Tries To Force Facebook, Twitter To Relocate Servers To Russia

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: The Russian government agency responsible for censorship on the Internet has accused Facebook and Twitter of failing to comply with a law requiring all servers that store personal data to be located in Russia. Roskomnadzor, the Russian censorship agency, “said the social-media networks hadn’t submitted any formal and specific plans or submitted an acceptable explanation of when they would meet the country’s requirements that all servers used to store Russians’ personal data be located in Russia,” The Wall Street Journal reported today. Roskomnadzor said it sent letters to Facebook and Twitter on December 17, giving them 30 days to provide “a legally valid response.” With the 30 days having passed, the agency said that “Today, Roskomnadzor begins administrative proceedings against both companies.” The law went into effect in September 2015, but Russia has had trouble enforcing it. “At the moment, the only tools Russia has to enforce its data rules are fines that typically only come to a few thousand dollars or blocking the offending online services, which is an option fraught with technical difficulties,” a Reuters article said today. According to The Journal, “Facebook and Twitter could be fined for not providing information to the watchdog.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.