Thanks to Amazon, today is like Boxing Day in July. Microsoft is hosting its annual partner conference this week. And Alexa turns out to not be a very good doctor.
Today is Amazon Prime Day. The sale starts at 3 PM eastern time and continues through Tuesday. This is the fourth year of the ecommerce giant’s annual shopping event. It’s become like a Boxing Day in July, except you can just buy stuff at home instead of braving the crowds in the real world. Coresight Research estimates that Prime Day sales will exceed $3.4 billion globally, making it Amazon’s biggest revenue day ever. Making things interesting this year is a response from Amazon’s competition. Both Target and eBay are advertising exclusive deals, which can be accessed without the need to buy a membership. Personally, I’m really enjoying the new shoes I ordered in the Prime Day pre-sales. And yes, they fit perfectly.
This week, Microsoft Inspire is being held in Las Vegas. Microsoft’s annual partners conference will feature its CEO Satya Nadella along with other executives in the spotlight. A theme of this year’s conference is gender diversity and inclusion. Guest keynote speaker Coco Brown is the founder of Athena Alliance, which advocates for gender parity in the boardroom. There’s no company in Silicon Valley that has a board made up of more than 40 per cent women. Brown says that ingrained male culture needs to change, for the good of companies.
Lastly, if you’re feeling sick this week, maybe don’t rely on Alexa alone to address your health concerns. We’ve all consulted “Dr. Google” about some symptom or other by now. Well, with Alexa now in the homes of tens of millions of people, we’ve gone from typing search queries to asking for health advice from voice assistants. Quartz Media selected 16 health-focused Skills in the Amazon Skills store and tested their responses with the help of two independent physicials. Of those 16, just 10 were even able to give one valid answer. If anything, these Skills might have a chance at telling you if you have the flu or not. But Quartz concludes they’re better for entertainment than real medical advice, and they’re not really that amusing.