Alexa Answers Goes Crowd Sourcing; France Will Block Facebook’s Cryptocurrency in the EU; Tesla Announces 3 Motor ‘Plaid Powertrain’; Huawei Tries Selling 5G Patents to Western Buyer Skirting Trump

Amazon has just started allowing anyone to field questions from users that Alexa doesn’t already have a response for. Fastcompany.com reports that any such answer will be tagged by Alexa as ‘according to an Amazon customer.’ The program has been running as a private beta for about a year. Whether the crowdsourced answers will be able to reasonably compete with Google Assistant…which can grab answers from the billions of pages Google has indexed…remains to be seen. Amazon has been in a limited partnership with Microsoft’s Bing. Amazon claims that in the beta, a ‘substantial majority’ of users’ questions were answered with vetted sources. Amazon not only hopes to keep people asking questions within the community but also those know-it-alls who want to answer them!

France has announced that it ‘cannot authorize’ the use of Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency on European soil. According to cnbc.com, the French government felt it would but the sovereignty of governments at risk. Facebook has already said it would wait until it has regulatory approval from all quarters before rolling out Libra, so this ma be a pretty substantial challenge to that rollout occurring. Considering Facebook’s record with user data (see Cambridge Analytica), this seems like a reasonable position right now for the French and the EU.

Staying with its speed references from the movie “Spaceballs,” Elon Musk has announced the next iteration beyond Ludicrous speed. Electrek.co says Tesla has announced the upcoming ‘Plaid Powertrain,’ which will rock 3 motors. The powertrain will debut next year in the Model S and Roadster, along with a new chassis prototype which Tesla has tested in conjunction with the trimotor powertrain. They just used the combination to break a record at Laguna Seca. The system will not be available in the lower cost Model 3 or Model Y. Musk claims it will be a little pricier in the Model S, but still in line with competitors’ offerings.

Huawei is going to try an end run around the US blockade of its 5G system. Businessinsider.com reports that they are looking to sell a bundle of the company’s 5G patents, licenses, code, and tech blueprints in a one time transaction. They claim this would create a ‘balanced distribution of interests’. The major problem for Huawei with the US blacklisting is cutting them off from Google. the company has run Android, and without Android and the Google Play Store, it has severely impacted their smartphone business. Huawei has developed their own OS as a backup plan, but no Android is an ongoing problem for the company. The US has cited national security concerns, as they claim Huawei can act as a proxy for the Chinese government to spy..something Huawei has denied.

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