Let The Right One In (NOT Alexa)

Ogdred Weary

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The whole Alexa and similar technologies bewilders and ultimately horrifies me, I do get the "look at me I'm in Star Trek" appeal of verbally ordering a computer to do random tasks but ultimately it feels more like inviting a vampire into your home to me.

I'm more than happy to be a Luddite Granddad on this.
 

Anonymous-50446

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The whole Alexa and similar technologies bewilders and ultimately horrifies me, I do get the "look at me I'm in Star Trek" appeal of verbally ordering a computer to do random tasks but ultimately it feels more like inviting a vampire into your home to me.

I'm more than happy to be a Luddite Granddad on this.
Yeah, I'm with you although (a) I'm not a Luddite but (b) if something can be abused, then it will be.
 

Lizard King

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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.

:)
I totally agree. It's so exhausting switching on lights and looking things up.We are being told we need these things and all it is doing is encouraging laziness. Where will it end?we will have an mind reading artificial intelligence telling Alexa what we want ,to save us the effort of talking.
 

Naughty_Felid

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The whole Alexa and similar technologies bewilders and ultimately horrifies me, I do get the "look at me I'm in Star Trek" appeal of verbally ordering a computer to do random tasks but ultimately it feels more like inviting a vampire into your home to me.

I'm more than happy to be a Luddite Granddad on this.
You can pretend to be in a Star Trek universe like I do but it obviously doesn't work.

I yell randomly at the cats "Make me a cup of tea" or "put the heating on" - they tend to wander off or fall over and start purring.

Not really what I'm after.
 

Ermintruder

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There is some genuine usefulness to be gained in having optional verbal HCIs (human:computer interface), but this underpinning concern about 'ambient monitoring' (ie what amounts to pseudo-anonymised constant spying) needs to be properly addressed by the corporate datamonsters, especially Google.

Having had a couple of Google Home Assistants (minis) in the house for over a year now, they are certainly really good for being able to provide the following genuinely-useful utilities:

  • Instant selection of any music track via Google Play. Totally transparent and responds effectively to semi-inaccurate verbal requests .

  • Instant access to any radio station or podcast via Tune-in. Again totally transparent in use, and responds quite accurately to clumsy requests

  • Instant weather/temperature feedback on demand.

  • Immediate responses to free-text questions, including calculations, estimates for road journey times based upon road conditions, specific updates on news items, updates on stock/share levels....anything you can type-in to Google search engine.

But the key thing is that the input and response process is much MUCH faster than typing, or reading information from a screen.

Forget the telecontrol stuff, unless you really/truly live a life where you need to have lights and heating doing stuff semi-remotely. The IoT will be here soon enough, don't preempt it.

Concentrate on real-world simple usefulnesses.

Such as being able to have these cheap Home Assistants peppered around the house, selectively being tasked to play the same audio track. Genuinely great for home/party entertainment. Unloud everywhere atmospheric sound.

Or being able to instantly-broadcast messages (Hey Google, say "breakfast is ready now")

Or being able to have appointment reminders, where-you-put-your-keys reminders, list reminders. Or an instant landline-to-mobile-or-landline phonecall (that will ethically-spoof your mobile number, for identification by recipient).

BUT- we need to get the real measure of their spying capabilities (incidental or otherwise). Hence the merit (I assume?) in the Big Orange Switch still being there, if you're having a not-in-front-of-the-Google moment....which should be always, until you use the trigger-phrase.
 

Anonymous-50446

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There is some genuine usefulness to be gained in having optional verbal HCIs (human:computer interface), but this underpinning concern about 'ambient monitoring' (ie what amounts to pseudo-anonymised constant spying) needs to be properly addressed by the corporate datamonsters, especially Google.

Having had a couple of Google Home Assistants (minis) in the house for over a year now, they are certainly really good for being able to provide the following genuinely-useful utilities:
We also need to address the way search engines increasingly 'learn' and shape what response they provide to us. I personally don't want that, I want to be able to do my own search, not a search of what 'some algorithm' thinks I want to see.

This is partly a stubborn control thing, but it's the type of system that is both ripe for and will be targetted for, abuses of some kind.
 

Ogdred Weary

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We also need to address the way search engines increasingly 'learn' and shape what response they provide to us. I personally don't want that, I want to be able to do my own search, not a search of what 'some algorithm' thinks I want to see.

This is partly a stubborn control thing, but it's the type of system that is both ripe for and will be targetted for, abuses of some kind.
I think it's way too late for that.
 

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I was slightly shocked when I had switched to an android phone and it asked me to review a Burger King I had briefly visited. I didn't realise it tracked you like that.
 

blessmycottonsocks

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I was slightly shocked when I had switched to an android phone and it asked me to review a Burger King I had briefly visited. I didn't realise it tracked you like that.
I can go one better than that.

I'm on the Amazon Vine programme, which means I get offered a selection of free stuff, provided I submit a review of a reasonable length and standard within a set time limit.

A year or so back, I was at work and got a phone call from my wife, saying she had run over the iPad charging lead with the Hoover and snapped it. She asked me to buy one from the Apple store after work.

That afternoon, I checked my Amazon Vine queue and, for the first time that I could recall, it offered me a lightning cable for iPad. It arrived the next day.

Coincidence or something spookier?
 

Tribble

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I was slightly shocked when I had switched to an android phone and it asked me to review a Burger King I had briefly visited. I didn't realise it tracked you like that.
Google monitors your phone's location (default : on) via GPS/celltowers/wifi and corresponds that data to a business address. You can tell Google not to track you.
 

EnolaGaia

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In an apparent bid to foster Alexa adoption, Amazon is inaugurating a series of celebrity-recorded voices one can install on one's Alexa / Echo device(s).

The first celebrity voice to be available? Samuel L. Jackson ...
Amazon Alexa gets Samuel L Jackson and other celebrity voices

Amazon has announced that its virtual assistant Alexa will soon be able to mimic the voice of the actor Samuel L Jackson among other celebrities. ...
... And before you ask ... Yes, you'll be able to get uncensored Jackson ....

Amazon said it would use a "neural text-to-speech" engine to mimic celebrities' voices on Alexa-powered devices. It will use recordings the stars provide as the basis for other computer-generated utterances.

Samuel L Jackson's voice will be offered in both a "clean" and an "explicit" mode for Alexa
In the case of Avengers actor Samuel L Jackson, consumers will be given the choice of whether they want a version that swears or not. ...
SOURCE: https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-49829391
 

Ogdred Weary

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Poor Sammuel L Jackson must be short of cash, it's nice to see him getting some work as one rarely sees or hears him nowadays.
 

Bigphoot2

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Could Alexa be a witness to a possible murder?

Alexa, did he do it? Smart device could be witness in suspicious Florida death
  • Sylvia Galva Crespo killed by spear to chest in own home
  • Amazon Echo may hold evidence as husband charged
Guardian staff and agencies
Fri 1 Nov 2019 20.21 GMTLast modified on Fri 1 Nov 2019 20.34 GMT


Calling the witness – Alexa. Police in Florida are investigating whether they have stumbled on a silent witness to a possible murder and are trying to get the truth from “her”.
Sylvia Galva Crespo, 32, was killed by a spear to the chest at home in Hallandale Beach, Florida, north of Miami, in July, which her husband, Adam Crespo, 43, has portrayed as a mysterious accident.

etc
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/nov/01/alexa-florida-death-witness-amazon-echo
 

EnolaGaia

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In case your smart speaker paranoia needs a booster shot ...
Researchers Show They Can Hack Your Smart Speaker Just by Shining Lasers at It

Smart speakers have become a home addition for many, but the choice requires some vigilance over potential security breaches. Now, researchers have shown that hackers could get these small devices to do their bidding without making a single noise.

Devices running Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa and Siri were all shown to be vulnerable to this security hole, and the researchers got it working on a Facebook Portal device, too. Even phones and tablets were shown to be vulnerable.

The trick works through the micro-electro-mechanical systems, or MEMs, built into smart speaker mics. These tiny components can interpret light as sound, which means they can be manipulated by something as simple as a laser pointer.

Considering smart speakers are often hooked up to smart locks, smart alarms, and other home security devices, it's not difficult to imagine how this could be used to sneak into a property (or maybe just fire up a smart coffee maker). ...

The team got the hack working through windows, at distances of up to 110 metres (361 feet), and with a kit costing just a few US dollars. Smart speakers don't often come with extra security protections – if you issue a voice command, it just works. ...
FULL STORY: https://www.sciencealert.com/researchers-can-hack-a-smart-speaker-just-by-shining-laser-light-at-it
 

Lb8535

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Tell that to my electricity supplier! My bill is ASTRONOMICAL!
You can buy a timer for less than $10 that plugs into the outlet and into your lamp and set it on and off any time you want. I use one at night downstairs because if I hear something down there I damn well want to be able to see it.
 

catseye

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I do have one timer for one lamp, but one lamp isn't sufficient (I come in through the porch (no sockets), then kitchen (where I could put a lamp) and then into the living room (where I need the light).

Might invest in some more timers...
 

Lb8535

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I do have one timer for one lamp, but one lamp isn't sufficient (I come in through the porch (no sockets), then kitchen (where I could put a lamp) and then into the living room (where I need the light).

Might invest in some more timers...
There's also a thing you can screw the porch lite into that turns on when it's dark
 

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The post man has just delivered our first ever Alexa :cool: .. we have entered the 21st century .. she's currently babbling foreign languages at us while the Mrs gets her working.
 

Mythopoeika

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The post man has just delivered our first ever Alexa :cool: .. we have entered the 21st century .. she's currently babbling foreign languages at us while the Mrs gets her working.
You now have no privacy at all!
 
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