Skip to content
Do you have adblock enabled?
 
If you can read this, either the style sheet didn't load or you have an older browser that doesn't support style sheets. Try clearing your browser cache and refreshing the page.

(The Atlantic)   Trust Alexa? Are you an idiot?   ( theatlantic.com) divider line
    More: Facepalm, Alexa, Emotion, Google Assistant, voice, smart speakers, time Alexa, Alexa engine software, virtual assistants  
•       •       •

1922 clicks; posted to Geek » on 12 Oct 2018 at 5:30 AM (10 days ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



51 Comments     (+0 »)
 
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest


Oldest | « | 1 | 2 | » | Newest | Show all

 
2018-10-11 10:44:28 PM  
yes
 
2018-10-11 10:50:01 PM  
Amazon already knows my purchasing habits, my music tastes, my reading tastes, my movie tastes... I have pretty much already bought in.
 
2018-10-11 10:53:14 PM  
Trust but verify
 
2018-10-11 11:20:20 PM  
From a pending greenlit article:
https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2018/​1​0/amazon-patents-alexa-tech-to-tell-if​-youre-sick-depressed-and-sell-you-med​s/?utm_source=fark&utm_medium=website&​utm_content=link&ICID=ref_fark


The patent describes a voice assistant that can detect "abnormal" physical or emotional conditions. "For example, physical conditions such as sore throats and coughs may be determined based at least in part on a voice input from the user, and emotional conditions such as an excited emotional state or a sad emotional state may be determined based at least in part on voice input from a user," the patent says. "A cough or sniffle, or crying, may indicate that the user has a specific physical or emotional abnormality."

"A current physical and/or emotional condition of the user may facilitate the ability to provide highly targeted audio content, such as audio advertisements or promotions, to the user," the patent said.
 
2018-10-12 01:27:56 AM  
Yea, more lock in. When the IT world started using the word "open" it meant open standard and no lock-in. Maybe GPL 4 can fix that.
 
2018-10-12 03:34:51 AM  
Yes, because she don't work at that shady strip club on the other side of town like Lexus.
 
2018-10-12 05:08:39 AM  
BTW it's built into the Facebook portal, some W10 PC and you can hook it up to your Xbox 1.
 
2018-10-12 05:32:36 AM  

Polezni Durak: From a pending greenlit article:
https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2018/1​0/amazon-patents-alexa-tech-to-tell-if​-youre-sick-depressed-and-sell-you-med​s/?utm_source=fark&utm_medium=website&​utm_content=link&ICID=ref_fark


The patent describes a voice assistant that can detect "abnormal" physical or emotional conditions. "For example, physical conditions such as sore throats and coughs may be determined based at least in part on a voice input from the user, and emotional conditions such as an excited emotional state or a sad emotional state may be determined based at least in part on voice input from a user," the patent says. "A cough or sniffle, or crying, may indicate that the user has a specific physical or emotional abnormality."

"A current physical and/or emotional condition of the user may facilitate the ability to provide highly targeted audio content, such as audio advertisements or promotions, to the user," the patent said.


Alexa: "You sound like you could use a drink."
 
2018-10-12 06:52:13 AM  
I don't.
 
2018-10-12 06:56:39 AM  
I like how all the warnings of our apocalypse foretold in paranoid '70 movies are coming true, although
in a non threatening, cute and fuzzy Trojan Horse kind of way.
 
2018-10-12 07:15:05 AM  

resident dystopian: I like how all the warnings of our apocalypse foretold in paranoid '70 movies are coming true, although
in a non threatening, cute and fuzzy Trojan Horse kind of way.


And no one is asking what happens when everybody gets used to having the machines do everything for them and they suddenly don't work anymore.

I was flipping through channels last night and saw a video a woman took with her phone surveying the inside of her intact (but unkempt) home in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael.  She was crying about not having electricity and not knowing what to do.  Literally crying.  And it had been, what, maybe 24 hours max?

What happens to society when it becomes even more dependent on technology, and then it's gone (temporarily or permanently)?
 
2018-10-12 07:16:54 AM  
You order one Suicide CD...and get a Prozac prescription?
 
2018-10-12 07:23:47 AM  
Please go stand by the stairs.
 
2018-10-12 07:25:39 AM  
tl;dr: The meat of the article is in the very last paragraph, which explains neatly why all of the preceding words were typed out (or dictated to a machine*) by the baby boomer.

/ *most unlikely
//Betteridge's law applies to both subby's headline and that of the article
///the assistants are simply tools, nothing more, not yet
 
2018-10-12 07:29:43 AM  
img.fark.netView Full Size


CONSUME
 
2018-10-12 07:58:50 AM  

dittybopper: What happens to society when it becomes even more dependent on technology, and then it's gone (temporarily or permanently)?


img.fark.netView Full Size


I am always reminded of the 1997 Outer Limits episode "Stream of Consciousness" when thoughts like this pop up.
 
2018-10-12 08:38:37 AM  
It works just fine for me. Kids use it to play music, I use it for news and cooking timers.
 
2018-10-12 08:40:39 AM  
The latest government surveillance gadget from Facebook has a camera and tracks your movement.
 
2018-10-12 09:01:55 AM  
The things are nice but I wouldn't trust any listening device from Google, Amazon, or Apple nor will I ever trust any listening device with any components created in China.
 
2018-10-12 09:03:07 AM  

Anenu: The things are nice but I wouldn't trust any listening device from Google, Amazon, or Apple nor will I ever trust any listening device with any components created in China.


This, completely. I avoid spyware at all cost
 
2018-10-12 09:05:40 AM  

drjekel_mrhyde: Yes, because she don't work at that shady strip club on the other side of town like Lexus.


She's not a tart, she's a courtesan.
 
2018-10-12 09:08:12 AM  
Incidentally, if you're into VR\AR, check out the "Micha" demo Magic Leap showed off. Could be where the digital assistant is going next.
 
2018-10-12 09:17:04 AM  

chasd00: It works just fine for me. Kids use it to play music, I use it for news and cooking timers.


Congratulations.  You've managed to replace these:

wwwcdn.antiquetrader.comView Full Size
cloudfront.zoro.comView Full Size


with a device that costs more, and has the added benefit of gathering gobs of data about you and sending it to you don't know where to be used by you don't know who for purposes you don't know about.
 
2018-10-12 09:20:28 AM  
I'm leery enough about my cell phone, even if location services are supposedly turned off. It's the only "smart" device I have, and that may still be too many.
 
2018-10-12 09:24:25 AM  

dittybopper: chasd00: It works just fine for me. Kids use it to play music, I use it for news and cooking timers.

Congratulations.  You've managed to replace these:

[wwwcdn.antiquetrader.com image 400x268][cloudfront.zoro.com image 450x450]

with a device that costs more, and has the added benefit of gathering gobs of data about you and sending it to you don't know where to be used by you don't know who for purposes you don't know about.


That, and if the timer breaks, the radio breaks as well!

/and as far as I know, I have not needed to update my egg timer in the past 2-3 years
 
2018-10-12 09:30:36 AM  

Anenu: The things are nice but I wouldn't trust any listening device from Google, Amazon, or Apple nor will I ever trust any listening device with any components created in China.


Do you own a smart phone or a computer? Because it is trivially easy for both of those to be turned into always-on listening devices.
 
2018-10-12 09:53:25 AM  

bobtheme: Polezni Durak: From a pending greenlit article:
https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2018/1​0/amazon-patents-alexa-tech-to-tell-if​-youre-sick-depressed-and-sell-you-med​s/?utm_source=fark&utm_medium=website&​utm_content=link&ICID=ref_fark


The patent describes a voice assistant that can detect "abnormal" physical or emotional conditions. "For example, physical conditions such as sore throats and coughs may be determined based at least in part on a voice input from the user, and emotional conditions such as an excited emotional state or a sad emotional state may be determined based at least in part on voice input from a user," the patent says. "A cough or sniffle, or crying, may indicate that the user has a specific physical or emotional abnormality."

"A current physical and/or emotional condition of the user may facilitate the ability to provide highly targeted audio content, such as audio advertisements or promotions, to the user," the patent said.

Alexa: "You sound like you could use a drink."


Alexa: "Or how about a nice soma?"
 
2018-10-12 10:05:45 AM  

Mad_Radhu: Anenu: The things are nice but I wouldn't trust any listening device from Google, Amazon, or Apple nor will I ever trust any listening device with any components created in China.

Do you own a smart phone or a computer? Because it is trivially easy for both of those to be turned into always-on listening devices.


Well, I suppose you could try listening to my notebook computer, but it's pretty much permanently attached to one of my HF radios so you'll just hear FT8 or WSPR signals all day.  And when it's not connected, the plug is still in the computer, which means the internal mic is disconnected.  Generally, though, I do a shutdown if I know I'm not going to use it for a while and I don't have it monitoring 20 or 40 meters.

The tower computer doesn't have an internal mic, and I don't have an external one for it, much less plugged in.  And if I'm not on it, it's shut down.

I don't own a cell phone.  I do have an iPad, but it's mostly used for playing Doom, so it's usually turned off and plugged into a charger in the bedroom with the door shut (to keep the cats out).  I also use it for a few things like checking radio propagation conditions, tracking ham radio satellites, and my local grid square, and a various other ham-radio related operating aids., especially if I'm portable.  But I generally turn off the Wifi and Bluetooth because if I'm using it portable I need long battery life, because I operate for hours and hours at a time.

Not perfect, but I minimize potential eavesdropping.
 
2018-10-12 10:14:51 AM  

chasd00: It works just fine for me. Kids use it to play music, I use it for news and cooking timers.


Ditto.
I also use her to turn on my Philips Hue lights, ask the weather as I'm getting dressed and play the occasional game of Jeopardy.  She is a voice interface to the Internet and in home devices.  If you have a problem with her then you have a problem with having computers and the Internet in your house.
 
2018-10-12 10:20:35 AM  

Burr: dittybopper: chasd00: It works just fine for me. Kids use it to play music, I use it for news and cooking timers.

Congratulations.  You've managed to replace these:

[wwwcdn.antiquetrader.com image 400x268][cloudfront.zoro.com image 450x450]

with a device that costs more, and has the added benefit of gathering gobs of data about you and sending it to you don't know where to be used by you don't know who for purposes you don't know about.

That, and if the timer breaks, the radio breaks as well!

/and as far as I know, I have not needed to update my egg timer in the past 2-3 years


Heh.

I'm a ham radio operator, and one of the popular things are what we colloquially call "DC to Daylight rigs".  Meaning they combine the function of an HF, VHF, and UHF radio, so you only have to buy 1 radio.  I've avoided them for a couple of reasons, the main one being cost, but another is that if I have a single radio say, on my desk or in my car, and it goes nipples skyward, I lose all ability to communicate.

As it stands now, if my HF radio breaks, I still have the VHF radio.  And vice-versa, if the VHF radio dies, I still have the HF radio.  It's pretty unlikely both are going to fail at the same time.
 
2018-10-12 10:32:02 AM  

fngoofy: chasd00: It works just fine for me. Kids use it to play music, I use it for news and cooking timers.

Ditto.
I also use her to turn on my Philips Hue lights, ask the weather as I'm getting dressed and play the occasional game of Jeopardy.  She is a voice interface to the Internet and in home devices.  If you have a problem with her then you have a problem with having computers and the Internet in your house.


No.  I have a problem with having an always-on voice interface to the Internet on in my house.  And I refuse to have internet-enabled "stuff" like lights and dishwashers and other non-communication devices.  I have not become so lazy or disabled that getting up to turn the lights on or off with a physical switch is a huge burden.

I'm a computer programmer/analyst, been in the IT business for over 25 years now, and security is part of my job.  The IoT is *INHERENTLY* insecure.  They have essentially zero security.   But hey, have fun with your Russian botnet house.
 
2018-10-12 10:35:50 AM  
Does anybody actually use their Alexa for anything useful?

I got one for Christmas last year, and the novelty wore off within about a week.  Now it just sits there like a hockey puck that I still have plugged in for some stupid reason.
 
2018-10-12 10:41:04 AM  
Why don't people focus on the positive? Chicken Littles have worried for decades that the government would force Big Brother upon us, when in the end we welcomed him into our homes with open arms.

/I'm pretty sure at this point that the non-existent security on most IoT devices is a feature, not a bug.
 
2018-10-12 11:08:06 AM  
When I'm in someone's house with an Alexa, I make a habit of surreptitiously unplugging it.
 
2018-10-12 11:20:00 AM  
I got an Echo Dot for my bathroom a month ago, just so I can change the music or radio station when I'm in the shower. I used to listen to NPR on the radio while I showered but then I'd get stuck mid-shower listening to some depressing Story Corps thing about transgender kids dying of cancer when I wanted something cheery. Now I can just yell out "Computer, play..." whatever and it does it. It's been pretty good about playing whatever I ask it to.
I love the Jeopardy skill, where you actually have to answer the trivia questions out loud, no multiple choice. And the Comedy Central skill is great for random stand up comedy bits.
I set the wake word to "Computer" instead of "Alexa" so I could feel like I was on Star Trek. The only problem is when I'm in the other room actually watching Star Trek and the captain asks for something and music starts blasting out of my bathroom. And I keep getting boxes of Earl Grey tea from Amazon...
 
2018-10-12 11:20:25 AM  

Tad_Waxpole: Does anybody actually use their Alexa for anything useful?

I got one for Christmas last year, and the novelty wore off within about a week.  Now it just sits there like a hockey puck that I still have plugged in for some stupid reason.


Define useful.

It is great to be able to get an on-demand weather forecast instantly.
It is also useful for simple questions.
Example:  You're watching a movie and you want to know if a given actor/actress is still alive and how old they are.  Just ask.
Want to know what time "your" sportsball team plays?  Just ask.

As far as security and lack of privacy.  Monitor your web traffic.  Does it have a constant data flow out from your Echo?  No it doesn't.

Cell phones and Google search history are far more intrusive.  Compare the number of people sent to jail for stuff from those vs. people sent to jail for Alexa related stuff.  A ton to (probably) none.
 
2018-10-12 12:00:17 PM  

dittybopper: Mad_Radhu: Anenu: The things are nice but I wouldn't trust any listening device from Google, Amazon, or Apple nor will I ever trust any listening device with any components created in China.

Do you own a smart phone or a computer? Because it is trivially easy for both of those to be turned into always-on listening devices.

Well, I suppose you could try listening to my notebook computer, but it's pretty much permanently attached to one of my HF radios so you'll just hear FT8 or WSPR signals all day.  And when it's not connected, the plug is still in the computer, which means the internal mic is disconnected.  Generally, though, I do a shutdown if I know I'm not going to use it for a while and I don't have it monitoring 20 or 40 meters.

The tower computer doesn't have an internal mic, and I don't have an external one for it, much less plugged in.  And if I'm not on it, it's shut down.

I don't own a cell phone.  I do have an iPad, but it's mostly used for playing Doom, so it's usually turned off and plugged into a charger in the bedroom with the door shut (to keep the cats out).  I also use it for a few things like checking radio propagation conditions, tracking ham radio satellites, and my local grid square, and a various other ham-radio related operating aids., especially if I'm portable.  But I generally turn off the Wifi and Bluetooth because if I'm using it portable I need long battery life, because I operate for hours and hours at a time.

Not perfect, but I minimize potential eavesdropping.


Who, exactly, do you believe would be spying on you?
 
2018-10-12 12:02:21 PM  

dittybopper: I'm a computer programmer/analyst, been in the IT business for over 25 years now, and security is part of my job.  The IoT is *INHERENTLY* insecure.  They have essentially zero security.   But hey, have fun with your Russian botnet house.


So Putin's plan is to be able to turn my lamp on and off against my will?!?!?!?

img.fark.netView Full Size
 
2018-10-12 12:26:15 PM  
All of this shiat needs to have open source equivalents, and moved out of corporations.  Same thing with Maps.  fark you Amazon and fark you Google.
 
2018-10-12 12:38:05 PM  

pacified: All of this shiat needs to have open source equivalents, and moved out of corporations.  Same thing with Maps.  fark you Amazon and fark you Google.


How exactly would the back-end tech for Alexa be open sourced?  Who would pay for that server farm?  As far as maps I could see what you're saying, but who would update them?
 
2018-10-12 12:43:11 PM  

Lando Calrissian's Cape: When I'm in someone's house with an Alexa, I make a habit of surreptitiously unplugging it.


A store around here uses Alexa with "Computer" as the wake word for their music.  I'm no longer welcome after asking it play a song from The Outhere Brothers.

imgs.xkcd.comView Full Size
 
2018-10-12 12:44:45 PM  

dittybopper: chasd00: It works just fine for me. Kids use it to play music, I use it for news and cooking timers.

Congratulations.  You've managed to replace these:

[wwwcdn.antiquetrader.com image 400x268][cloudfront.zoro.com image 450x450]

with a device that costs more, and has the added benefit of gathering gobs of data about you and sending it to you don't know where to be used by you don't know who for purposes you don't know about.


you can't tell a radio to play a specific song or only songs from one band, you can't set 2 or 3 different timers at the same time with that timer. Further, you can't do anything from across the room or with your hands full with either of the devices you posted.
 
2018-10-12 12:45:33 PM  

Random Companion: Lando Calrissian's Cape: When I'm in someone's house with an Alexa, I make a habit of surreptitiously unplugging it.

A store around here uses Alexa with "Computer" as the wake word for their music.  I'm no longer welcome after asking it play a song from The Outhere Brothers.

[imgs.xkcd.com image 285x413]


"Alexa, cancel the order"

that comic is nowhere near reality
 
2018-10-12 12:53:02 PM  

chasd00: you can't tell a radio to play a specific song or only songs from one band, you can't set 2 or 3 different timers at the same time with that timer. Further, you can't do anything from across the room or with your hands full with either of the devices you posted.


Don't try to bring logic into it.  An AM radio that gets a small set of stations is exactly the same as a device that can play basically any music ever recorded on demand.  And a timer that you can set to the second is exactly the same has no exactness.
 
2018-10-12 01:01:57 PM  

chasd00: Random Companion: Lando Calrissian's Cape: When I'm in someone's house with an Alexa, I make a habit of surreptitiously unplugging it.

A store around here uses Alexa with "Computer" as the wake word for their music.  I'm no longer welcome after asking it play a song from The Outhere Brothers.

[imgs.xkcd.com image 285x413]

"Alexa, cancel the order"

that comic is nowhere near reality


Plus, they're stick figures!
 
2018-10-12 02:00:33 PM  

chasd00: dittybopper: chasd00: It works just fine for me. Kids use it to play music, I use it for news and cooking timers.

Congratulations.  You've managed to replace these:

[wwwcdn.antiquetrader.com image 400x268][cloudfront.zoro.com image 450x450]

with a device that costs more, and has the added benefit of gathering gobs of data about you and sending it to you don't know where to be used by you don't know who for purposes you don't know about.

you can't tell a radio to play a specific song or only songs from one band, you can't set 2 or 3 different timers at the same time with that timer. Further, you can't do anything from across the room or with your hands full with either of the devices you posted.


You sound very busy. I don't think I've ever been in a situation where I'm like "I need radiohead to play at 3pm exactly but that's when I'll be juggling these chainsaws so I won't be able to use my hands."
 
2018-10-12 02:15:38 PM  

Lando Calrissian's Cape: chasd00: dittybopper: chasd00: It works just fine for me. Kids use it to play music, I use it for news and cooking timers.

Congratulations.  You've managed to replace these:

[wwwcdn.antiquetrader.com image 400x268][cloudfront.zoro.com image 450x450]

with a device that costs more, and has the added benefit of gathering gobs of data about you and sending it to you don't know where to be used by you don't know who for purposes you don't know about.

you can't tell a radio to play a specific song or only songs from one band, you can't set 2 or 3 different timers at the same time with that timer. Further, you can't do anything from across the room or with your hands full with either of the devices you posted.

You sound very busy. I don't think I've ever been in a situation where I'm like "I need radiohead to play at 3pm exactly but that's when I'll be juggling these chainsaws so I won't be able to use my hands."


Do you have a remote control for your TV?  Do you have a garage door opener on your garage?  These are things that you could easily do without.
 
2018-10-12 02:51:36 PM  
FTA: "yes, I still listen to lullabies to get to sleep "

Sigh. By this point in my life I was expected the next generation to be able to overtake me in most things but I feel like I can paralyze most of them with an unkind word.
 
2018-10-12 03:19:16 PM  

mjbok: Lando Calrissian's Cape: chasd00: dittybopper: chasd00: It works just fine for me. Kids use it to play music, I use it for news and cooking timers.

Congratulations.  You've managed to replace these:

[wwwcdn.antiquetrader.com image 400x268][cloudfront.zoro.com image 450x450]

with a device that costs more, and has the added benefit of gathering gobs of data about you and sending it to you don't know where to be used by you don't know who for purposes you don't know about.

you can't tell a radio to play a specific song or only songs from one band, you can't set 2 or 3 different timers at the same time with that timer. Further, you can't do anything from across the room or with your hands full with either of the devices you posted.

You sound very busy. I don't think I've ever been in a situation where I'm like "I need radiohead to play at 3pm exactly but that's when I'll be juggling these chainsaws so I won't be able to use my hands."

Do you have a remote control for your TV?  Do you have a garage door opener on your garage?  These are things that you could easily do without.


10/10 - well executed straw man argument.
 
2018-10-12 03:35:24 PM  

dittybopper: No. I have a problem with having an always-on voice interface to the Internet on in my house. And I refuse to have internet-enabled "stuff" like lights and dishwashers and other non-communication devices. I have not become so lazy or disabled that getting up to turn the lights on or off with a physical switch is a huge burden.


It's actually not lazy if you have issues - example: I have severe migraines. If I have one at night and have to get up, saying, "computer, turn on living room light" will turn on a light that won't wake up my husband, but make it so I can get to the bathroom and kitchen to use the former and get some water and an ice pack in the latter (small apartment.)  It DOES have non-lazy purposes because when your field of vision is compromised (it looks like swirly and moving sparkly, rainbow, water), it would be dangerous/hard to do this.

And somehow, he set it up that ours answers to "computer," which is funny, but annoying, since it responds when we talk about a computer. That said, it doesn't go off during WWE if an Alexa Bliss match is on, so... six of one...
 
Displayed 50 of 51 comments


Oldest | « | 1 | 2 | » | Newest | Show all


View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest

This thread is closed to new comments.

Continue Farking





On Twitter



Top Commented
Javascript is required to view headlines in widget.
  1. Links are submitted by members of the Fark community.

  2. When community members submit a link, they also write a custom headline for the story.

  3. Other Farkers comment on the links. This is the number of comments. Click here to read them.

  4. Click here to submit a link.

Report