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Intel’s new processors let you wake your computer with your voice

Intel's newest Skylake processors have a slightly creepy new feature — they're always listening to you. Shout "hey Cortana" or "Cortana, wake up" at a Windows 10 machine with one of the new chips, and your voice will be picked up by a digital signal processor secreted inside the chip that will rouse your PC from its low power state. Once it wakes up, Cortana takes over and you can use all the standard voice commands, including telling the digital assistant to play music or videos.

The company announced the new feature at its Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco today. A similar option also appeared on Microsoft's Xbox One and Motorola's Moto X smartphone, but as with those devices, after the novelty wears off, you might find it easier to simply turn on your machine in the normal way instead of yelling at it from across the room. Intel didn't mention how much power the always-listening mode will drain or how much it will affect the standby power, nor whether users would need any extra hardware in order to boss their computer around with words. Although Intel said voice activation was technically possible with last year's Core M chips, it's only now with Windows 10 and its Cortana integration that PCs can take advantage of the feature.