The facts: There are already about 1,500 applications for Amazon's digital voice assistant on the market, and there will likely be a 50 percent increase in that number by the end of the Consumer Electronics Show this week.

What's next: Smart home appliances and items like refrigerators and televisions will increasingly use voice and speech recognition applications to connect with consumers, said Shawn BuBravac, chief economic for the Consumer Technology Association.

Prediction: DuBravac estimates the total number of voice-activated assistants sold to date will double in 2017.

Why it matters: Alexa is clearly Amazon's big bet to leverage the Internet of Things trend. It's quickly gaining ground by signing deals with major brands. Google is also looking to expand its own digital assistant, along with Apple's Siri and Microsoft's Cortana. The race is on to become the dominant voice recognition provider, leading to inevitable advances on the artificial intelligence front.

Go deeper

Fed chair warns economy will feel the weight of expired stimulus

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Fed Chair Jay Powell bump elbows before House hearing on Tuesday. Photo: Joshua Roberts/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday that the expiration of Congress' coronavirus stimulus will weigh on the U.S. economy.

Why it matters: Powell warned that the effects of dried-up benefits are a looming risk to the economy, even if the consequences aren't yet visible.

21 mins ago - World

Beijing draws Chinese companies even closer

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Chinese Communist Party Secretary Xi Jinping announced last week that the party must strengthen its leadership over private companies, and that entrepreneurs must meet the party's needs. 

Why it matters: Xi's new announcement will increase fears that Chinese businesses may serve as a Trojan horse for the CCP.

Scoop: Trump to meet with Supreme Court candidate Barbara Lagoa on Friday

Lagoa and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

President Trump plans to meet with shortlisted Supreme Court candidate Barbara Lagoa during a campaign visit to Florida on Friday, according to two sources familiar with his plans.

What we're hearing: Sources who know both Trump and Lagoa say they still expect the president to pick Judge Amy Coney Barrett, but they view the Lagoa meeting as a wild card because they say she has a charismatic personality that would appeal to Trump.

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