Pact With The Devil

tech-details._CB318422491_If you’re wondering what’s hot in tech it’s voice controlled AI (artificial intelligence). The latest incarnations from Google, Apple, Microsoft and Amazon are beginning to understand sentences spoken casually.

Amazon’s standalone Echo (4.4 stars) has a seven microphone array. Through complex math Echo isolates sound from any specific spot in a room. Normal voice, noisy room: Echo should hear you.

Whatever Google calls their voice thing, Microsoft Cortana and Apple Siri still only live on phones, tablets and computers. All of these share one thing. In order to respond they must always listen.

Think about that. They must always listen.

I’m already using “OK Google” a little. It’s an easy way to set an alarm if I’m taking a nap or need to be somewhere. It’s how I set my GPS. I’ve sent a few texts by voice. I’m not sure it’s faster than my swiping.

I just went to Google so you could hear this:

That was recorded Saturday evening.

Think they know a lot now? Google saves voice commands. I’m not sure how long, but forever is certainly possible.

They know what you said. They’re still saving the voice. Will they find a use for it later?

This brings up an interesting and creepy point. If anyone, Google and other huge collectors of raw data are probably better equipped than the FBI to find a domestic terrorist.

We tell our secrets to Google. They see when you go to WebMD. They know if you’re happy or sad, rich or poor, young or old. They know when you’re speeding.

We trust Google and the others to be protective stewards of our entire life. Can they be trusted? Will they always be trustworthy?

I kvetch, but I too will make this pact with the Devil. It’s tough not to.

One thought on “Pact With The Devil”

  1. This is an interesting dilemma as we delve more and more into voice recognition and something that the public will decide with their wallets. It is most certainly creepy that Amazon’s Echo is constantly listening to everything you say, and learning by listening to everything. Who has access to this information? Do they save this information? Will they build profiles on users? Is this available to advertisers? There are so many questions with these new products and not too many answers. This is all unregulated and all very new and the public will have to decide if the creep factor overrules the convenience.

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