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Explain how this is an improvement?

Mostly what supermatt said -- this is a lot simpler. Particularly, it's been a long time since I looked, but when I last looked neither Google nor Amazon were offering the voice assistants in nice package where you could bring your own hardware but use their APIs. So beyond the hardware, the project would've also involved building my own voice assistant software as well. Both of those ecosystems have evolved alot so that might not be a hurdle anymore.

you just put it on top of your device, instead of needing to modify the electronics of your potentially expensive and complicated home assistant?

I'm wondering this too.

Like hey, let's install some under developed AI from some unknown company with unknown security policies on top of a device with access to hordes of personal data and the ability to make transactions online.

No hacker will EVER think to use it as an attack vector /s

I didn't look into Alias deeply, but does it even have network access at all? I don't see a reason it would have to.

It needs it for setup (so you can set up the wake word using your phone), but then after that it can be disconnected.

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