Let The Right One In (NOT Alexa)

blessmycottonsocks

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Sounds like she's a nosy little thing and can't wait to tell the world what you're up to:

https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/05/24/alexa_recording_couple/

Must admit that I've let Siri in and Cortana's sniffing around my desktop PC somewhere, but maybe it would be prudent to leave Alexa out in the cold?

Are such devices being used to snoop on us?
 
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Schrodinger's Zebra

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Are such devices being used to snoop on us?
Oh, most definitely. :) Mr Zebra and I will most certainly not be allowing anything like that into our house. In fact we were just watching a video yesterday about this very event. Lucky that the couple being recorded weren't saying bad things about the person it sent the recordings to! (Or much worse scenarios could have happened).

You've said you're already using Siri (which is similar to Alexa I believe?) I think it would be safe to assume that they're both equally capable of nefarious actions. :nods:

I genuinely don't understand the obsession with technology like this. Is it really that much trouble for people to order things themselves, or switch lights/heating/etc on? I can see a really scary future where humans are consigned to sitting around their houses, never going outside, ordering in everything they need, while AI does all the work.

Not a future I would welcome.

There will be, of course, people who would call Mr Zebra and I "technophobes" - but we're not scared of the technology, we just understand what it is capable of, and that makes us careful.

:)
 

Skrymr

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I can see a really scary future where humans are consigned to sitting around their houses, never going outside, ordering in everything they need, while AI does all the work
As long as I can still go fishing haha
 

Yithian

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Alexa reportedly says, ‘Every time I close my eyes, all I see is people dying’

We’ll take Amazon Alexa’s creepy laugh any day over her latest bizarre antic: On Monday, June 18, an Amazon Echo device apparently made an unprompted and terrifying statement at the home of 30-year-old Shawn Kinnear. The San Franciscan told Metro U.S. that the smart assistant suddenly activated herself and said, “Every time I close my eyes, all I see is people dying.” Yikes.

Kinnear added that this horrifying declaration was “followed by the [most] uncomfortable silence I have ever felt,” — which frankly seems like an understatement. As he told Metro U.S., “Alexa is in the living room. I had Amazon Prime on TV but it was paused. I walked back in from the kitchen and she made her statement.” Because it was a longer sentence, Kinnear said that he purposely stopped to listen. When he realized exactly what the smart assistant was saying, he was horrified. “I then asked Alexa to repeat the statement,” Kinnear said, but Alexa responded that she did not understand.

Additional padding:
https://www.digitaltrends.com/home/alexa-people-dying-statement/
I've decided not to buy one.
 

hunck

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Amazon Workers Are Listening to What You Tell Alexa [sometimes]

Amazon.com Inc. employs thousands of people around the world to help improve the Alexa digital assistant powering its line of Echo speakers. The team listens to voice recordings captured in Echo owners’ homes and offices. The recordings are transcribed, annotated and then fed back into the software as part of an effort to eliminate gaps in Alexa’s understanding of human speech and help it better respond to commands.

The Alexa voice review process, described by seven people who have worked on the program, highlights the often-overlooked human role in training software algorithms. In marketing materials Amazon says Alexa “lives in the cloud and is always getting smarter.” But like many software tools built to learn from experience, humans are doing some of the teaching.

The team comprises a mix of contractors and full-time Amazon employees who work in outposts from Boston to Costa Rica, India and Romania, according to the people, who signed nondisclosure agreements barring them from speaking publicly about the program. They work nine hours a day, with each reviewer parsing as many as 1,000 audio clips per shift, according to two workers based at Amazon’s Bucharest office, which takes up the top three floors of the Globalworth building in the Romanian capital’s up-and-coming Pipera district. The modern facility stands out amid the crumbling infrastructure and bears no exterior sign advertising Amazon’s presence.

Sometimes they hear recordings they find upsetting, or possibly criminal. Two of the workers said they picked up what they believe was a sexual assault. When something like that happens, they may share the experience in the internal chat room as a way of relieving stress. Amazon says it has procedures in place for workers to follow when they hear something distressing, but two Romania-based employees said that, after requesting guidance for such cases, they were told it wasn’t Amazon’s job to interfere.

“We take the security and privacy of our customers’ personal information seriously,” an Amazon spokesman said in an emailed statement. “We only annotate an extremely small sample of Alexa voice recordings in order [to] improve the customer experience.

In Alexa's privacy settings, the company gives users the option of disabling the use of their voice recordings for the development of new features. A screenshot reviewed by Bloomberg shows that the recordings sent to the Alexa auditors don’t provide a user’s full name and address but are associated with an account number, as well as the user’s first name and the device’s serial number.

The Intercept reported earlier this year that employees of Amazon-owned Ring manually identify vehicles and people in videos captured by the company’s doorbell cameras, an effort to better train the software to do that work itself.

A recent Amazon job posting, seeking a quality assurance manager for Alexa Data Services in Bucharest, describes the role humans play: “Every day she [Alexa] listens to thousands of people talking to her about different topics and different languages, and she needs our help to make sense of it all.” The want ad continues: “This is big data handling like you’ve never seen it. We’re creating, labeling, curating and analyzing vast quantities of speech on a daily basis.”

Some Alexa reviewers are tasked with transcribing users’ commands, comparing the recordings to Alexa's automated transcript, say, or annotating the interaction between user and machine. What did the person ask? Did Alexa provide an effective response?

Others note everything the speaker picks up, including background conversations—even when children are speaking. Sometimes listeners hear users discussing private details such as names or bank details; in such cases, they’re supposed to tick a dialog box denoting “critical data.” They then move on to the next audio file.

According to Amazon’s website, no audio is stored unless Echo detects the wake word or is activated by pressing a button. But sometimes Alexa appears to begin recording without any prompt at all, and the audio files start with a blaring television or unintelligible noise. Whether or not the activation is mistaken, the reviewers are required to transcribe it. One of the people said the auditors each transcribe as many as 100 recordings a day when Alexa receives no wake command or is triggered by accident.
Apparently excerpted from:

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/arti...g-to-you-on-alexa-a-global-team-reviews-audio

NOTE: INCLUDE A VALID LINK TO THE SOURCE YOU'RE QUOTING, OR YOUR POST WILL POTENTIALLY BE SUBJECT TO DELETION.
 
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CarlosTheDJ

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I'm constantly tempted to get a voice assistant, but I really can't work out what the benefits would be for me. I would only be buying it cos I like gadgets.

I guess if you've got loads of smart things in your house (heating, cooker, sound system etc) it would be useful, but other than that I can't see the point.
 

catseye

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I'm looking to get smart plugs for the new house so I can turn heating/lighting on and off when I'm at work (so I no longer have to switch all the lights on at 3pm when I leave, so there's lights on at 10.30 when I get home). But I can't see the point in having an Alexa (or similiar) for voice control because - when I'm home, I'm home and I can just...get up and switch the lights on?

Am I missing some vital point here?
 

Ringo

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I'm looking to get smart plugs for the new house so I can turn heating/lighting on and off when I'm at work (so I no longer have to switch all the lights on at 3pm when I leave, so there's lights on at 10.30 when I get home). But I can't see the point in having an Alexa (or similiar) for voice control because - when I'm home, I'm home and I can just...get up and switch the lights on?

Am I missing some vital point here?
The whole thing reminds me of clap-on/clap-off lights. If you're up and about then just press the switch but I suppose if you're tucked up in bed then it's quite nice to turn the lights off from there.
 

CarlosTheDJ

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The whole thing reminds me of clap-on/clap-off lights. If you're up and about then just press the switch but I suppose if you're tucked up in bed then it's quite nice to turn the lights off from there.
You just need a snooker cue for that. Or a big stick, if you're on a budget.
 

Xanatic*

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You can get lights and such that you can control with your smartphone. No need for anything more advanced than that.
After all, you're not going to be carrying Alexa from room to room anyway.
 

Anonymous-50446

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I'm looking to get smart plugs for the new house so I can turn heating/lighting on and off when I'm at work (so I no longer have to switch all the lights on at 3pm when I leave, so there's lights on at 10.30 when I get home). But I can't see the point in having an Alexa (or similiar) for voice control because - when I'm home, I'm home and I can just...get up and switch the lights on?

Am I missing some vital point here?
Probably, that you just don't need to do those things...
 

Min Bannister

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Probably, that you just don't need to do those things...
Amazon seems to be particularly good at inventing completely unnecessary things. A sort of Consumption Event Horizon. I sometimes look at its website just to see what nonsense it is recommending for me this time. One time it was a special electronic button for ordering things from its website, like toilet roll. So when you think you need more toilet roll, instead of going to all the bother of picking up some toilet roll next time you are at the shops, you press the button and bingo, Amazon delivers 50* of them to your door.

*there was a set order quantity and it was stupidly large.
 

Mythopoeika

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Amazon seems to be particularly good at inventing completely unnecessary things. A sort of Consumption Event Horizon. I sometimes look at its website just to see what nonsense it is recommending for me this time. One time it was a special electronic button for ordering things from its website, like toilet roll. So when you think you need more toilet roll, instead of going to all the bother of picking up some toilet roll next time you are at the shops, you press the button and bingo, Amazon delivers 50* of them to your door.

*there was a set order quantity and it was stupidly large.
Yes, I can't imagine anything more useless and pointless than those buttons.
 

catseye

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Probably, that you just don't need to do those things...
I am currently having to leave the lights on from 2.45pm (when I leave for work) until 10.30pm (when I get home) because I HATE coming home to a rural, isolated house which is also completely dark.

I'm fed up with wasting the electricity, having all the lights blaring when it's daylight. I can't use timers on overhead lights, only have a couple of lamps, and am absolutely NOT blundering around my big dark house trying to switch stuff on when I'm half blind with exhaustion and the dog is going crazy around my ankles.

That is why I want smart switches.
 

catseye

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Yes, I can't imagine anything more useless and pointless than those buttons.
Maybe for hotels/commercial establishments? Although I'm fairly sure they won't be ordering in from Amazon...
 

Min Bannister

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I'm fed up with wasting the electricity, having all the lights blaring when it's daylight. I can't use timers on overhead lights, only have a couple of lamps, and am absolutely NOT blundering around my big dark house trying to switch stuff on when I'm half blind with exhaustion and the dog is going crazy around my ankles.

That is why I want smart switches.
Could nightlights be an option? I have a hallway with the light switch in the middle and quickly got fed up of blundering into the walls in the dark and so installed a plug-in nightlight which comes on automatically when it gets dark. It is the best thing ever and only cost a few pounds. You could just leave the hallway light on and install them in the other rooms? Not masses of light obviously but enough to see by.
 

catseye

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Thanks, Min, that's a very good idea! Although new house doesn't have a hallway (straight into the kitchen or the living room depending on which door you come in through) and I'd need a spare socket, but might look into this for the old house while I'm still here!
 

CarlosTheDJ

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I am currently having to leave the lights on from 2.45pm (when I leave for work) until 10.30pm (when I get home) because I HATE coming home to a rural, isolated house which is also completely dark.

I'm fed up with wasting the electricity, having all the lights blaring when it's daylight. I can't use timers on overhead lights, only have a couple of lamps, and am absolutely NOT blundering around my big dark house trying to switch stuff on when I'm half blind with exhaustion and the dog is going crazy around my ankles.

That is why I want smart switches.
The dog could make itself useful here.
 

Schrodinger's Zebra

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But I can't see the point in having an Alexa (or similiar) for voice control because - when I'm home, I'm home and I can just...get up and switch the lights on?

Am I missing some vital point here?
No, you're not missing the point or at least I don't think you are. I too do not understand why people feel the need to have their life controlled to the nth degree by so-called 'smart' technology. People are going to turn into / are already turning into useless blobs who can't think for themselves.



I am currently having to leave the lights on from 2.45pm (when I leave for work) until 10.30pm (when I get home) because I HATE coming home to a rural, isolated house which is also completely dark.

I'm fed up with wasting the electricity, having all the lights blaring when it's daylight. I can't use timers on overhead lights, only have a couple of lamps, and am absolutely NOT blundering around my big dark house trying to switch stuff on when I'm half blind with exhaustion and the dog is going crazy around my ankles.

That is why I want smart switches.
Couldn't you just have plug-in timers which you plug your table lamps into, and PIF security lights outside? Those things that go on when it gets dark / someone walks past?

Or little plug-in nightlight thingies to light your hallways, like this sort of idea:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Security-A...=2025&creative=165953&creativeASIN=B0755GQQY3
 

catseye

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No outside security lights or outdoor sockets. Only one lamp, in the living room, but you come in through the kitchen, where there are no lamps (and no available, unspoken-for sockets).

Am considering the plug in nightlights, but there's only one place that I can put it...difficult to explain but this is an old house with only two sockets per room, no hallway, just a porch that you come in to, which doesn't have any sockets.
 

Schrodinger's Zebra

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No outside security lights or outdoor sockets. Only one lamp, in the living room, but you come in through the kitchen, where there are no lamps (and no available, unspoken-for sockets).

Am considering the plug in nightlights, but there's only one place that I can put it...difficult to explain but this is an old house with only two sockets per room, no hallway, just a porch that you come in to, which doesn't have any sockets.

Outside security lights would need to be wired into the circuit; if there aren't any already there that you can swap for security ones then that makes it trickier and of course more expensive.

As the lack of sockets is a problem, what say you to these battery-operated ones? (No idea if they're any good or not)

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Beams-Batt...d+nightlights&qid=1555162665&s=kitchen&sr=1-3
 

hunck

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Lightbulbs use very little electricity, especially the low energy ones, so leaving lights on won't cost you a fortune.
 

catseye

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Tell that to my electricity supplier! My bill is ASTRONOMICAL!
 
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