Ars Technica just did a review of the Amazon Echo, a year after its debut. As I've probably mentioned before, I don't have a "smart" home and I'm especially not interested in having an always-listening device in my home, so the Echo didn't have a huge appeal to me when it came up. This review doesn't really help that (the woman reviewing it even admits she isn't crazy about speech AI), but it did get me thinking that something with similar functionality would be a cool thing to have around a makerspace.
Cue the Mycroft, which is an open source version of the Amazon Echo. They expect to start shipping units in August and it seems like someone said "Hmm.. wonder how we can make an AI device for Richard??" Hope it doesn't end up being vaporware and actually ships/becomes a product. The other alternative is using the raspberry pi as a platform for Amazon Echo (however, one still has the problem of sending all of your data to Amazon). Using the rPi as an Echo device could be cool, however, as a project to come up with a good IoT integration.