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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

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32 mins ago - Energy & Environment

UN says Paris carbon-cutting plans fall far short

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Nations' formal emissions-cutting pledges are collectively way too weak to put the world on track to meet the Paris climate deal's temperature-limiting target, a United Nations tally shows.

Driving the news: This morning the UN released an analysis of the most recent nationally determined contributions (NDCs) — that is, countries' medium-term emissions targets submitted under the 2015 pact.

Biden condemns Russian aggression on 7th anniversary of Crimea annexation

Putin giving a speech in Sevastapol, Crimea, in 2020. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

President Biden reaffirmed U.S. support for the people of Ukraine and vowed to hold Russia accountable for its aggression in a statement on Friday, the 7th anniversary of Russia's 2014 invasion of Crimea.

Why it matters: The statement reflects the aggressive approach Biden is taking to Russia, which he classified on the campaign trail as an "opponent" and "the biggest threat" to U.S. security and alliances.

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
3 hours ago - Economy & Business

What's really going on with the labor market

Source: YCharts

The labor market is showing some signs of improvement: Jobless claims fell to 730,000 — a dramatic drop from 841,000 the previous week. And the latest jobs report showed a pandemic-era low unemployment rate of 6.3%

But, but, but: That's not the full story, experts say.