I stopped reading here. This is FUD, or scaremongering, or something.
The truth is the reason the Echo family (and others) have seen such success is because they approach the virtual assistant problem from, in my opinion a novel and underutilized, place: the home appliance.
Sure I can pull out my phone (or is it charging on the nightstand?) to check the weather, but I can ask my Echo while I'm tying my shoes and by the time I'm done grab a jacket if necessary. It's so natural.
I have bought Echo dots as gifts for family and friends -- there seems to be a 50/50 split between the primary use being for music or home automation. It's far less kludgier than using a phone to turn your lights on and off. What if you have guests?
Lastly, when I travel I find myself missing the utility of being able to simply ask a question in the middle of another task, hands free. I've heard that some hotels are installing Echos, I think that's great.
Overall I think they're a great value add to my life -- I could buy a new phone for almost a thousand bucks and I barely get any noticeable improvement (and the improvements are usually along the lines of things actually working the way they are supposed to).
For $30, an Echo is a steal.
Why can't you just stand up and, you know, flick the light switch?
This kind of nonsense puts me in mind of "Wall-E". Fat, inert humans being hauled around on hovercrafts, their every need tended to by a watchful panoply of machines.
If someone in my family gives me an Echo/Alexa/whatever, it's going in the trash.
I can, but I don't want to. Is that unreasonable?
I've quite enjoyed adding automation to my home. My outdoor lights slowly brighten as it gets dark outside - not by a timer, but by checking the actual times of sunrise / sunset as well as how cloudy it is, which might make it darker sooner. I can check my phone to ensure my doors are locked and my garage door is closed and my yard lights are off. I get a notification when the washer / dryer are finished. When I'm done working, I say a simple command and my office lights fade as my desktop locks.
I can set timers and check my laundry and then wait the extra 5 minutes it adjusted to finish. I can log out and hit the switch on the way out. I can get up every evening and turn on the outside lights and then turn them off in the morning. I can adjust my thermostat once I get up instead of 15 minutes before. But I don't really want to.
As a programmer, having an API for my home has been tons of fun. Controlling some of that API with my voice has been as well.
That said, I've made sure everything still works when my pi is down, because sometimes a light switch is, you know, simpler.
Sounds like a task best handled locally with a light sensor. Why mess with indirect inputs such as sunrise/sunset times and weather reports, which incidentally imply connectivity (and therefore more potential points of failure and vulnerabilities) when a simple, standalone solution exists?
You're spot on about connectivity, although I could potentially keep a table of sunrise / sunset times to reference while offline.
These outside lights were my very first foray into home automation after I'd moved into our new house. It's been working so well, that I just kept going with other things. Until this thread, I'd practically forgotten about the automation.
Yes. Consider the amount of movement/exercise the average western person gets, it might even be life threatening.
It's based on the inability to distinguish between useful and marginal technology (especially when the latter also has tons of adverse side effects, such as security and privacy issues).
>As a programmer, having an API for my home has been tons of fun. Controlling some of that API with my voice has been as well.
As part of a hobby it can be OK (hobbies don't have to have utility, and we can even spend resources to have fun doing them). As it's sold (and bought for) to and by the masses, it's beyond useless.
That seems like a massive stereotype there. I just don't see how changing the lighting in your house from a switch to audio could be "life threatening". You have zero idea what physical fitness the individual above does. I also don't understand how asking, "What is the weather like outside?" while tying your shoes is an issue. I don't think this is Asimov level of automation. It's just a mild convenience.
Obviously it's the mindset that's killing us, so that's a moot point. Besides, the statistics support the "massive stereotype" very well.
I agree that Security and Privacy issues are always important to consider, and ideally we in the tech industry will find better ways to educate the masses about the issues at hand.
That's because this is only considering the direct first order effects, and at isolation on this or that particular person, and not second order effects and general consequences of such an attitude. My argument was more about the latter.
Having a particular (European) kind of mindset, I don't argue about what some unique snowflake might or might not do, not care about people's "personal responsibility" to balance things properly themselves. Instead I care about general trends and societal effects stemming from such an attitude. A person could have automated his lights and toiler flushing and whatever, and also be a multi-marathon runner. Perfectly possible, but obviously not statistically significant enough to base any argument upon.
You need to remember that an individual is not the average person. Yes, maybe it's damaging for the "average" person (though who really _knows_). But you can't say it's unreasonable for this poster specifically, unless you know their life.
Thanks, that's my point exactly, which I tried to explain in my response comments. I never talk about the individual in a general discussion -- and don't even care what one might or might not do.
Why do you need a television remote? Why can't you just stand up and, you know, change the channel on your TV?
You're just drawing some arbitrary line in the sand and passing moral judgement on everyone on the other side. My guess is that in 30 years, having every light in your house controlled by a physical switch will be as quaint as TVs with rotary channel dials.
Maybe, but it certainly won't be echo/home that results in that. Voice control for lights is fantastic in certain situations, like when you're in bed and want to turn the lights off. Or on the couch about to start a movie.
But it absolutely sucks to say "alexa, turn on the lights" when you walk in the room. It's slower and it's more frustrating than just flipping the switch right next to you (and the connectivity delay is readily apparent) Maybe motion detectors or some other form of tracking people in the house will augment this to relegate switches to the dustbin of history, but it's definitely not voice assistants and crappy phone controls that are going to do it.
If only we've had enough intelligence discover sensible limits to things, instead of doing everything just because we can.
"I've come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies:
"1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.
"2. Anything that's invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
"3. Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things."
If it's a technological limit, it will always be "just beyond where it was earlier in our lives", so that's a tautology.
One discovers such limits as you get to them -- you only get to be able to say "too much" after the ability you think is too-much has been invented. Heck, perhaps dead guys from centuries ago would have thought of it too much if we've described it to them, we just can't now.
For other limits, that don't arise as some technology just becomes available, what's too much is not necessarily "just beyond where it was earlier in our lives".
E.g. it took us 60+ years of merrily driving away before the LA smog became intolerable back in the 70s/80s. Pollution of the 50s levels was already beginning to be "too much" but we didn't know it yet. But even someone in the 80s would have easily agreed to that -- that a previous era had the optimum, and not just what they were used to.
My bedroom has a light switch by the door that turns on the fan light. I have canned lights as well but the switch is on the other side of the room in the bathroom (why God why?!). I have two lamps on their respective night stands plugged into always on outlets.
If I leave the room then chances are I'll first have to walk across the room to shut off one of the 3 lights not controlled by the switch at the door.
Instead I have two smart plugs on the lamps. I can operate simply by saying "Alexa turn on the lights".
If I enter the room with a load of laundry in my arms, I don't have to fiddle with a switch.
If I am leaving the room, I don't have to run around turning off lights.
If I wake up in the middle of the night I don't have to grope around the back of my night stand for the switch on my lamp cord.
I can also set a schedule when I am away to make it appear that I am home.
Because it is more efficient to yell at Alexa "Turn off the bathroom lights" than stand up, walk to the bathroom and turn them off.
Or better yet, having all your lights and things turning on as you walk in the door. Or having Alexa wake you up by turning on your lights slowly.
Or baking something and telling Alexa to set a timer. No more having to type into Google "20 minute timer" then remembering to keep that tab open and your sound on.
Bunch of we-don't-like-options luddites in here. I'm surprised people aren't modding their cars with a hand crank b/c
> why can't you just get the crank, walk up front, and start it manually, instead of turning a key like a princess.
Yelling at my home is on my top 10 favorite things about this century so far. I tried for decades to utilize the force to get the lights on/off or grab the tv remote. Burst a blood vessel in my eye trying one night. Never worked.
> No more having to type into Google "20 minute timer" then remembering to keep that tab open and your sound on.
You don't really need a whole unwieldy computer to just call you after 20
Yes, a mechanical egg timer is still a timer, and still functional. But so were sand timers. A mechanical clock still works, but many people still use digital clocks now a days.
I like the hands-free nature of the Echo timers, so I can set a timer while I still have dough or raw meat on my hands. And like I said, I can have an oven timer going while I have a timer for my pasta on the stove, and any variety of things I care to time (my kid's 5 minute timeout for fighting with his brother, for example).
The main reason I bought them was the ability to display multiple colors - I absolutely wear that out. I love having a red-colored room when I'm playing video games. Dimmed 'sunset' colors when watching a movie. Party colors when friends are over.
I think they're really fun, sometimes useful.
When I want to remotely control a light switch with my voice, I tell a kid to get up and flip it. It doesn't always work, but I at least know that they understand what I want. And it means that sometimes you have to be the one to flip the switch for someone else.
We have fireTV which offers push button voice commands, my 2yo -- who is a little retarded in his speech -- launched Plex the other day (I said "launch" he said "Plex"). I was, inter alia, impressed it managed to decipher his speech, albeit a single word.
Even a perfect solution that never screwed up and wasted my time would have to also be very cheap ($100-200 for whole house—yeah, right) and take no time to install/maintain for that to be worth it to me.
Obviously they need more privacy controls, but so far they have been a unalloyed good for me.
Fine if you have a standard home with one switch and one light on the ceiling.
I live in a loft style appartment and have about six lamps in the main area. I would much rather tell an app "set dining table light to dim" than walk around the room across the two floors to turn lamps on and off.
Much better, you can tell the app "set a sexy mood" and have all half my lamps turn off, dim some of them and put the few color hue bulbs to pink. All of this with one word.
Right now, I do all of that with my phone. Problem is that when I am at home my phone is often on the kitchen table or charging next to the bed. I have to go and pick it up to interact with my smart(ish) home.
Investing in a vocal interface such as the Echo or Google thingy sounds very interesting to me. If buying all those smart lights didn't kill my budget, I would have one already.
Then you wonder why Barry White recommendations start appearing in Amazon
Is it solely privacy concerns that make you pull the health card? I'm pretty sure the overall positive effect on your health from getting up to manually switch lights and change the channel on the TV would be negligible; there are far better ways to get your daily exercise.
Long story short, there are many lives very different from yours. There are ways beyond Wall-E (that are also far more useful and connected with reality) to broaden one's horizons.
You know what one of my primary use cases is? Changing the song that's playing while working out without going and finding my phone. I can control my house from my stationary bike.
Ultimately, devices like these allow me to be a more active contributor to my household by freeing up my hands of the endless trivial tasks that would otherwise occupy me. My productivity in the kitchen alone has doubled since introducing a Google Home to my counter.
Personally I just have like three tablets of various vintages floating around the apartment, all with the light control app on them.
Recently I've been reconsidering my outlook on new things, and though I dismissed Alexa as a fad, I now own two Dots, a couple of Hue bulbs, and some smart outlets. They solved some basic issues really well:
- No ceiling light in the living room, which is my apartment's entry, "Alexa, turn on floor lamp", beats walking across the room in the dark to find the foot switch
- My bedroom lights didn't have a dimmer, being able to say "Alexa, set bedroom to 35%"
- I have Sonos in most rooms, so I like to leave music for the dogs when I leave the house, "Alexa, play jazz music in living room", beats using the app on my phone
- "Alexa, what's the news?" to get five minutes of news from NPR in the morning is more enjoyable than looking at my phone
Anyway, my point is that a small investment resulted in me having some tech that, though minor, does improve my life. And this re-evaluating new things idea makes me feel less like an old curmudgeon (of thirty-eight).
I don't think they are "against the natural order of things". They have some privacy problems but they also have the potential to change our lives in small ways that are valuable.
Most of the Echo use among my family is music. They just want something they can stream and listen as background noise. Sometimes they use it as a radio station. Nothing more beyond that.
For an extra $5 they'll throw in a smart plug https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01KWEAH1K
The TP-Link smart plugs will work in full concert only about 75% of the time; it's Home => Kasa, then an Alexa => Kasa integration.
"Ok Alexa, turn off/on the Living Room" gives me hilarious permutations of which of the three light up, are delayed, need to be asked again, etc. I've done enough wireless network testing locally to know it isn't network strength getting in the way.
It was a nice toe-dip and I'll probably keep messing with the idea of home automation...but I am really not impressed with the lack of responsiveness and consistency. Probably going to shift gears more to localized automation next without involving the cloud.
The eTekcity 1Tx/5Rx remote outlets running on (I'm pretty certain) 433.92Mhz that these TP-Link smart plugs replaced work every single time. (Going back to those is sounding better, now that I think about it.)
Are we really going to fearmonger about HomePods, Echos, and Google Homes when we have a microphone on our laptops/cellphones?
Is it worth having rare earth minerals mined by literal slaves in Africa and China?
Is it worth the energy associated with transporting the resources, processing them, assembling the device and delivering it to you?
All for the convenience of not pulling out your phone while you are tying your shoes?
I do not understand this uncritical consumption. $30 may be 'a steal', but think about whom you are stealing from.
Removing a single consumer electronic device from your life isn't going to impact those global markets - they're problems best tackled at a different scale.
This is why I am so pessimistic about humanity. It's an outrageous opinion to sacrifice even a bit of convenience for not using resources.
I see the angry downvotes pouring in on my previous post because (unsurprisingly) people get angry at having their consumerist lifestyle criticised.
I'm curious. Which way?
Hardware teardown of an early generation echo. Worst, all of this is electronic waste in a few years.
We all do this and just by design, smartphones and laptops are not made to last. We accumulate such a staggering about of waste considering the energy/resources used to produce this.
The larger problem is that technology enables us to consume more, so I don't see how technology can ever solve the problem unless a serious shift in perception happens.
E.g. [https://www.thedailybeast.com/this-is-what-we-die-for-child-... | This Is What We Die For: Child Slaves Made Your Phone Battery]
So what? If relying on GPS navigation erodes ability to read a map, doesn't relying on a map also erode ability to navigate by intuition or ability to follow verbal navigation instructions?
I actually agree with the claim the heavy use of GPS navigation erodes ability to navigate successfully without it, though I have only anecdotal evidence of this. My own ability to navigate definitely seems to have declined when I started relying on GPS nav frequently, first Garmin/TomTom and now Google maps. But so what? Overall I'm significantly more efficient at navigating now overall.
Net net it's a gain, which is the very promise of technology. (Almost) No one laments the decline in ability to type on a manual typewriter that has come from the rise of general purpose computing or the decline in ability to use an abacus or sliderule that has come from the creation of calculators. The loss of these skills is far outweighed by the benefits.
It doesn't, you still use your situational awareness, the same observations (to locate where you are on your map), the same site of direct observations.
For me it's like the difference between waking around a building blindfolded following a voice instruction and following a floor plan. In the former case (as for satnav) I'm lost without the aid; in the latter case I can not only navigate the same route but also find places I didn't visit before because I noticed then in passing in order to orient myself.
FWIW I use satnav and don't consider it a great wrong, but if I want to know a route or learn about an area then map following is much better.
No one misses the technical skill to use a sextant, typewriter, or sliderule. Those things are in a sense just drudgery. But if you lose the ability to navigate, compose, or do math in the process, that's a different story.
There's probably plenty of useful skills being a mounted soldier taught you that driving a tank doesn't. Those skills, if they're still useful today, are learned another way.
I don't think that's a bad thing, either. This is how thousands of years of social progress happened. We stopped learning how to use sun dials. We stopped learning how to use a sextant. These were replaced by superior implementations and the world moved on to bigger & better things.
It's most definitely the most helpful device I've ever bought, second to a mobile phone. Switching to a smartphone from my old Nokia didn't improve my life, adding a TomTom in my car did.
Source: I help teach adults to read topo maps every year
I can think of two, maybe three times in my entire life I've even had a reason to look at one.
It's like saying you need to know how to read aeronautical maps. While a pilot might need to, and maybe those doing balloon based projects or drones might as well, the average person couldn't possibly care less.
> microphones only send recordings to the servers when you use the wake word.
This is a fact we can verify with tools like Wireshark. Their other point about "open microphones" largely ignores smartphones which all have open microphones and a baseband operating system which can activate the microphone to spy (which the NSA did).
Their point about existing hacks targeting the Echo is also largely unraveled by a quote further down:
> This particular exploit only worked on devices made before 2017 and required the hacker to have physical access to the Echo.
Essentially if you disassemble an Echo and reprogram it, it will do something else. Compelling stuff...
> On two occasions I have been asked, — "Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?" In one case a member of the Upper, and in the other a member of the Lower, House put this question. I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question.
Part of Google's success is realising that yes, your goal needs to be that the right answer comes out when asked the wrong question. If you type "Rebecca Editor of Star Newspaper" it doesn't matter that's not how she spells her name, or that she was never editor of the Daily Star, nor that she's not now editor of anything at all, having been effectively promoted, Google correctly determines that you probably want results about a famous British woman named Rebekah Brooks.
There's an SF story, I thought it was a Multivac story but a list of those doesn't find it for me, where the world computer has been making "mistakes" and the technicians trying to diagnose it eventually realise its "mistakes" are actually causing humans who've disobeyed its instructions to fail. The computer has been tasked with improving efficiency, and disobedience results in inefficiency, so it has arranged for those who are disobedient to be unsuccessful. It isn't murdering anybody, but maybe they'll go bankrupt or miss out on a promotion and so the overall inefficiency is reduced.
Disclaimer: work for AWS, not affiliated with Alexa or Echo.
Is it really? I don't think you'd be able to detect steganographic communication or targeted attacks like this.
The microphone's input would either need to be transmitted continuously (which is detectable with Wiresharp or other traffic monitoring tools), or stored which neither the Echo or Echo Dot have large enough capacity to do for any significant length of time.
I'll give you that it could be possible to slip in other "trigger words" that could be tallied, then statistics sent off, but really, is that a problem? So what if your Echo counts how many times you say a specific keyword? Would that affect your life in any way?
it seems like it wouldn't be that hard to get some datapoints about what google might be sending based upon when transmissions were sent and what was being sent to the microphone.
Or just find someone smart enough to reverse engineer the device.
Your “phones can already do this” argument still holds
The last one is probably closest but it doesn't matter because there are starving children to feed and you're here worrying about names of fallacies, you animal. /s
Ugh. This story really was just written to be controversial clickbait. Utter lack of journalistic integrity.
You can write a promo putting yourself in the position of your standard demographics, you can write an opinion piece, the chances they'll coincide aren't that high.
Online sometimes I push a viewpoint to be more extreme, or take a contrary position in order to shed light on, and develop, my own belief/position. [I'm doing it now!]
Typically a journalist's job is to report without bias (to the extent possible). They might present others' viewpoints as well as factual information, but they shouldn't be presenting their own viewpoint in the guise of objective information. At least this is what I think.
For op-eds, obviously the expectations are different. But I think it's pretty shady that we have an op-ed here presenting the Echo as a terrible idea when two weeks ago the author was touting the same thing as amazing in a review. Best case it means that the author is intentionally being provocative and presenting an opinion he doesn't hold simply because it'll get views. Sensationalism is not a hallmark of quality journalism. Worst case I'm left to believe the positive review was purchased, which is even worse.
That isn't possible. Everything contains bias. The simple choice to report a particular story instead is a bias against the other stories left unreported. The duty of a journalist is to disclose their bias when it might affect the story, so people can interpret their report with the proper context.
Reporters are not mere stenographers that repeat official statements and press releases. They choose what they feel is important enough to report on and give their interpretation of the facts as well as their opinion about the facts (which should be properly labeled as op-ed).
> presenting the Echo as a terrible idea when two weeks ago the author was touting the same thing as amazing in a review.
People can change their mind about a product. Maybe the author learned about the risks from comments made on the review.
> Best case it means that the author is intentionally being provocative
You're seeing what you want to see, not the best case which is simply that the author learned more and change their recommendation. (however, it would be good to clearly state that this change in the beginning on the article)
Not sure they will be GDPR compliant if it continues like that..
Bullshit. Amazon fought the subpoena up until the defendent essentially said "whatever, give them the whatever recordings you have". The linked article even says this.
This whole thing is luddite fear mongering. There are legitimate reasons to worry about IoT devices, but mostly not for the reasons outlined here.
Yeah, you're here to tell lies then, unless you have some sort of evidence that this happens that we don't know about. Unless someone says "Hey Google" or "Alexa," ain't nothing happening. When Google found out a small number of Home Minis might accidentally do this because of a hardware bug, they responded by immediately crippling the physical button on every device.
Amazon and Google do plenty of terrifying stuff with privacy; there's no need to make up new stuff in order to write a fluff piece.
I say this every time these home assistants are discussed: this is not new. There are no new privacy implications whatsoever, unless you're one of those very few people who doesn't have a cell phone. The vast majority of us have had devices that can literally listen to everything we're saying for years now, many of us for decades. And to make it worse, we take them with us outside, they're not just in the home.
Why do home assistants awake this privacy fear, but nobody cares about cell phones listening in on you? I seriously do not get it.
In any case, there are other explanations for this than the feature doing what it says. Recording takes less power than constantly running a neural net over the audio to see if you said the trigger phrase. If you really don't trust the manufacturer, they could even artificially use excess power when the feature is enabled, just to make it look like it's doing something extra. Or they might not be listening to you 24/7, but only at selected times.
There really is no way to verify that your phone isn't listening to you when it's not supposed to be.
Untrusted microphones connected to networks are untrusted microphones connected to networks. The only thing distinguishing an Echo from any smart phone is that you can monitor the Echo's network traffic.
> (By the way: If you enabled an always-listening assistant on your smartphone, now’s a good time to consider the implications.)
First, you need to answer this question: can you trust the device maker?
If the answer is "yes," then both types of devices are fine. If your phone says it doesn't listen to you when it's not supposed to, it doesn't. If your home assistant says it doesn't listen to you except some dumb routine to check for the wake word, it doesn't.
If the answer is "no," then both types of devices are bad. If you can't trust a home assistant not to spy on you contrary to what the manufacturer says, then you can't trust a phone either.
It's possible to trust one and not the other if you distrust a particular manufacturer. But I haven't seen anyone saying "I don't trust Amazon specifically, but I'd be fine with a home assistant if it was made by Company X." It's always a blanket "why does anyone ever allow anything like this into their homes?"
To be clear, it's the "newfound" I object to. There's definitely a privacy conundrum here, but it's an old one, and 99% of people have already decided they do not care.
I have no way to verify what any of the currently available home devices do with their microphone.
Yes, the echo and other voice-recognition devices have certainly upped the surveillance ante, but this is not a new problem unique to this technology. We have no privacy whatsoever online in any way, shape, or form. Everyone laughed at all the poor suckers who got caught using Ashley Madison, but imagine the blackmail material these companies we have trusted since the dawn of the WWW could have on their users.
The details of how your internet microphone works doesn't matter, because it's not thoe microphone that you should be worrying about. If these devices are in "general public use", you no longer have an expectation of privacy from the technology itself (not any particular product). The police in Kyllo v United States brought their own infrared camera.
I have no concerns over privacy. My web browsing habits and phone leak far more personal data to google.
And that is your right. Where I have problems with this attitude is the question wether all those around you, family or guests you might have over, feel the same way. They're also impacted by this decision, yet they get no say in it.
As with most privacy things, there is particular privacy and general privacy. In particular, I don't think amazon or google have any intention of examining me. It is all just computer AI doing its thing. One in a sea of millions.
If you were in my house Amazon wouldn't even know it was you talking.
Still, everyone should be able to decide which corporate 'masters' they trust. For instance, Netflix may be surveying my watching habits, but I trust them more than Google and Amazon. They can only collect a small subset of data (viewing habits) and it least they get the majority of their income out of subscriptions. Over time, I have started making more principled choices of who I want to give my data and who not.
I don't think it is fair to ask that because I share data with Netflix, I should also be willing to share data with Google or Amazon when I visit you.
Unfortunately, this is only going to get worse. For example, there are a lot of cloud connected cameras with exploitable vulnerabilities. My parents had such a camera and I asked them to cover or disconnect it when I visit them.
A smart speaker isn't so useful that the tradeoff in privacy is worth it.
I think a lot of people are starting to have a tech hangover. We're not turning into luddites and embracing FUD, we're just tired of the major tech co's telling us that every new gadget is life changing when they aren't.
Remember that we've seen them fail horrifically just because a few too many were activated at once due to commercials.
We've thought we were close for 50 years. Siri was cool for a couple years but I want to move beyond the 5 year old.
For those who truly hate these solutions, Mozilla is crowd sourcing a solution. Perhaps it will help to get us there.
Once the problem is solved, we can move it completely offline. For now, I'm excited that Google and Amazon have turned this into a race.
I really want an open source version, but there's not much point if it is not usable.
My opinion is that the proper way to deal with the privacy implications of this are to come up with better alternatives - open-source voice assistants and entire ecosystems that do everything locally and that are easy to setup by Joe Shmoe. More in-depth auditing by security experts to see exactly what data is being sent from these devices back to their servers. Privacy laws that will take a company down and send people to jail when violated. Encryption on everything that can feasibly be encrypted.
The truth is that I have succumbed to the utility of my Google Home (and the enormous amount of fun I get from having it interface with Home Assistant), but I'd like to be a part of whatever the front line is in making sure these are as privacy-conscious as possible.
Failing this, we rely on the hope that companies can make more money off protecting our privacy than they can from exploiting our data. It remains to be seen which will win in the marketplace.
I was thinking about monitoring the outbound data (to detect voice streaming). What tools would you use for that?
This sounds like someone who's never actually lived with an Echo (which, being gizmodo, wouldnm't be surprising).
Being able to think of a song I remember from my childhood, say it, and have it play while I cook dinner is magical.
Mine too. I literally never use it because turning off the oven is not the timer's job. An external timer is much more friendly, because often the thing I'm cooking still needs 5 more minutes, or needs to be basted again in 20 minutes, etc.
I fail to see how it's more annoying to not have the timer incorrectly shut off the oven. Coupling oven functionality to the timer just makes the timer less convenient. Using it to time basting etc is far more annoying and you essentially just can't use it for, say, timing something on the stove.
> With voice-only control, you add the annoyance of dealing with voice confirmations on top of that and have no way to glance at a timer and see how much time is left.
"Alexa, how much time is left on the timer?"
You lose the ability to look directly at the timer, but you gain the ability to check the timer when you're in the pantry, or across the room with guests or playing with your kids.
Maybe this makes you feel superior but it also makes you look like a prick. This is completely unrelated to the topic.
I was referring to the first comment I responded to, where neaden said they use their Echo for unit conversion.