By now you’ve likely at least dipped a toe into the world of artificial intelligence-driven personal assistants. Even at this early stage, they are pretty amazing, often entertaining, and whether you notice it or not, always listening. As Slate’s Will Oremus explains, this increasingly popular technology is terrifyingly convenient. “Alexa — and Siri and Cortana and all of the other virtual assistants that now populate our computers, phones, and living rooms — are just beginning to insinuate themselves, sometimes stealthily, sometimes overtly, and sometimes a tad creepily, into the rhythms of our daily lives.”

+ Business Insider: The inside story of how Amazon created Echo, the next billion-dollar business no one saw coming. (No one, except … Alexa.)

+ Is it OK to use the Amazon Echo on Shabbat? It’s a moot question. Before long, technology will be our only religion.

+ And related (I think) from The Guardian: Researchers discover that touching the areas where a robot’s genitals or buttocks would be provokes a physiological response in humans. (Immediate reaction: It’s a relief not to be the only one…)