ShinyShiny snippets: Alexa to let you choose ‘dead voice’

Soon you could opt to have a deceased loved one tell you stories, play music or simply turn on the lights – all from your Alexa device. Amazon says it wants to “make memories last” and is developing a system to let its assistant mimic any voice after hearing less than a minute of audio. So your Alexa may soon be able to mimic your departed nan, long-lost friend or, presumably, someone off the TV. The goal is to “make the memories last” after “so many of us have lost someone we love” during the pandemic, said Rohit Prasad, an Amazon senior vice president. Sky News 

Two big developments for Apple’s augmented reality headset. First, it has now entered the design-development stage, according to one report. And second, Apple CEO Tim Cook has dropped a rather large hint that it’s on the way. A note from Haitong Intl Tech Research analyst Jeff Pu – as seen by 9to5Mac(opens in new tab) – says the long-rumoured headset will be ready in prototype form by the end of this year. But it’s not expected to go on sale until the second half of 2024. Pu also said that the headset – dubbed AR Glass – will feature waveguide technology, with Corning (maker of the popular Gorilla Glass used in smartphones) supplying the glass. What HiFi 

Elon Musk says Tesla’s new factories in Germany and the US are “losing billions of dollars” due to battery shortages and supply disruptions in China. The multi-billionaire also called the plants in Berlin and Austin, Texas “gigantic money furnaces”. Covid-19 lockdowns in China this year, including in Shanghai where Tesla has a huge factory, have made it increasingly difficult for manufacturers to operate. In recent weeks Mr Musk has been warning of job cuts at the firm. “Both Berlin and Austin factories are gigantic money furnaces right now. It’s really like a giant roaring sound, which is the sound of money on fire,” said Mr Musk, who is the electric vehicle maker’s chief executive. BBC 

A British electric car battery maker is targeting Tesla as a client by developing power cells designed to appeal to Elon Musk. Britishvolt, which is building a gigafactory in Blyth after raising £1.7bn, is working on lighter, cheaper batteries similar to the prototype 4680 cells that Mr Musk’s company ordered earlier this year from Panasonic. A source said that if Britishvolt could provide performance batteries to Tesla it would be a “win for the UK” and its battery research. Britishvolt is intending to focus on high-performance vehicles such as those built by Lotus and Aston Martin, both signed up as future customers. Telegraph 

Russian hackers have launched cyber attacks on targets in 42 countries allied with Ukraine since Vladimir Putin’s war began, Microsoft says. The technology giant said the hacking attempts were successful 29% of the time, and data was stolen in at least a quarter of the successful network intrusions. Nearly two-thirds of the targets involved NATO members, and the US was the prime target, it added. Poland – the main conduit for military assistance flowing to Ukraine  was second, while in the past two months Denmark, Norway, Finland, Sweden, and Turkey have seen increased targeting. Sky News

Chris Price