In the world of tech, there’s an oft-forgotten rule: just because we can do something, it doesn’t mean we necessarily should.

And that’s where the good people at Amazon come in. At a recent event in the US, the home-delivered oddity behemoth unveiled a new feature that it plans to roll out for its In-Home Always-On Consumer Surveillance Creepy Bezos Bot, Alexa.

The new development promises that, if you give Alexa a couple of minutes’ worth of someone’s voice, Alexa will be able to talk just like that voice whenever it communicates with you. Neato.

Say you have a recording of your long-dead grandmother, and you’d like her to read you a Harry Potter book until you fall asleep? Alexa will – hauntingly – be able to do it.

How about your ex-girlfriend, who you miss like a severed limb and wish you could just hear her talk one more time, without her saying stuff like “Why are you in my house?” and “Are those my pyjamas you’re wearing”?

Yup – Alexa’s got you sorted there, too.

Look, we get it. It’s a lovely idea, but it’s just the wrong side of weird, and headed rapidly for unwholesome. But Alexa’s got form when it comes to behaving oddly, as this “don’t click this if you’re not cool with a few rude words” video shows.

Amazon is not the first company that has tried to humanise its tech to make it more acceptable for consumers to use.

Microsoft had a crack at it back in the day, when it created Bob – its hilariously terrible attempt to create Microsoft Windows for Dummies, but for dummies who are demonstrably thicker than pig poop.

And Microsoft’s more recent attempt to build something relatable using AI, called Tay, had to be pulled offline twice, after becoming horribly racist and sexist, and then becoming obsessed with drugs and suffering an electronic existential crisis.

And on top of that, disaster, is news that one of the most widely-accepted and implemented AI models used in robot development is fundamentally racist and sexist. 

Anyway, it’s always a great day when we get to break the emergency glass and mash the “Has Technology Gone Too Far?” headline alarm in the newsroom. And we look forward to a lengthy and voluble haranguing from Amazon for making fun of their inadvertently horrifying new feature.

It will no doubt be delivered via Alexa in the voice of Adolf Hitler, because if you didn’t see that coming already, our new book The Cesspit we call The Internet, for Dummies is available now.

On Amazon.

 

TO MARKETS

Australian markets have opened with a yawn and a stretch this morning, before pulling on some track pants and fluffy slippers and deciding that today might be a good one to spend on the couch.

Across the sectors and most of the needles are resting comfortably in the nominal parts of the dial – the only real standout is an Energy surge, continuing yesterday’s run to push the sector more than 3.0% higher since breakfast.

The Big Four Banks slid in morning trade ahead of the expected rate hike from the Reserve Bank today, which will be announced once the RBA crew are done consuming their taxpayer-funded champagne-soaked lobster canapes and get down to talking turkey.

Among the fat-wallet stocks to win this morning has been… Sayona Mining (ASX:SYA), which lurched nearly 7.0% higher on news that director David Lynch (not that one – the mining one) has acquired a bunch of company shares.

Also on the rise today was Regis Resources (ASX:RRL), after news of a record June quarter which took the company’s annual gold production to 437,000oz.

This made people happy, and happy people buy shares, and when people buy shares, the price goes up – in this case, up by 10.5% (and climbing) as we steam towards sammich o’clock.

June, as it turns out, was a pretty solid month for a number of Aussie diggers and explorers – and here’s a handy wrap-up from our resident smartypants Reuben, because we don’t have space to talk about it all here.

Leading the losses in the Bigger-than-a-Billion club was med-tech outfit Imugene (ASX:IMU), which had enjoyed a lift when Dr Sharon Yavrom come on board as executive director/clinical scientist a week ago, but has see-sawed rather than yee-hawed since then, dropping 3.0% today.

 

NOT THE ASX

Looking overseas, and Wall Street was closed yesterday to celebrate 243 years since the US swapped its dependence on England for a dependence on even worse food.

European markets were mixed overnight with pan-European STOXX 600 rising by 0.5%, the FTSE-100 up by 0.90%, and the German Dax falling by 0.30%.

Stockhead’s own Eddy Sunarto says that European investors will be closely watching the minutes of the ECB’s June meeting on Thursday, which could provide clues to the central bank’s train of thought in raising rates to control runaway inflation.

Asian markets have sizzled like garlic prawns on a cast iron griddle so far today, with Hong Kong (+0.98%) and Japan (0.94%) duking it out for the regional title, as Shanghai cheered from the sidelines with a supportive 0.25% gain.

In commodities, both oil (+2.13%) and natural gas (+1.75%) have been gushing and rushing this morning, with gold (+0.53%) and silver (+1.75%) putting the precious in “precious metals”. Copper, however, has weakened, dropping 0.44%.

 

ASX SMALL CAP WINNERS

Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for July 5 [intraday]:

Swipe or scroll to reveal full table. Click headings to sort:

 

In the featherweight division this morning, the standout performer has been IOUPay (ASX:IOU), which went berserk in early trade – to the tune of 55% – before an extremely succinct trading halt request brought the run to a halt 10.30am, after a speeding ticket was issued by the Making Money Police.

Video tech company Atomos (ASX:AMS) delivered a record sales result – unaudited revenue in excess of $82m for FY22 — and investors showed their appreciation by sending its price up close to 45%.

Osteopore (ASX:OSX) has continued its meteoric rise of recent times, porking up by more than 40.0% as it continues to grow its presence in vital overseas markets.

And a cranking find by PolarX (ASX:PXX) of 9.1m at a lip-smacking 124g/t gold from just 24m gave its price a lift through 18% before settling under 10% this morning.

 

ASX SMALL CAP LOSERS

Here are the worst performing ASX small cap stocks for July 5 [intraday]:

Swipe or scroll to reveal full table. Click headings to sort: