Amazon’s Initiative: “Digital Assistants”, Home Surveillance and Data | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED


Amazon’s Initiative: “Digital Assistants”, Home Surveillance and Data

Dolls connected to the internet; sex toys linked to the world wide web; and, of course, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos haunting you in the home with Alexa, a talking digital assistant connected with the speaker Echo. Alexa, this happy searching missionary, scouring and gathering intelligence for that weighty mother ship, Amazon, all used in the name of profit and customer experience.

For one thing, Alexa shows how sources of inspiration, entertainment and variety have shifted. Like the search-hungry connected doll, Amazon’s Alexa, after being woken from digital slumber via Echo, conveys material through Amazon’s servers, where the audio is analysed. The command is thereby sent back to the Echo device. Both the voice audio and the response, is stored and linked to the user’s account.

Amazon’s terms of use describe Alexa as streaming “audio to the cloud”. This takes place “when you interact”. The main company duly “processes and retains your Alexa Interactions, such as your voice inputs, music playlists, and your Alexa to-do and shopping lists.” With the creation of the voice profile, Alexa duly makes use of the recordings “to create an acoustic profile of your voice characteristics. This allows Alexa to call you by name and personalize your experience.”

Brad Stone of Bloomberg finds it thrilling, using Alexa’s speakers to “play music and news, tell jokes and get the weather.” Obviously a bit short in the department of imagination, is Stone. But even he admits that privacy is very much for the chop. Volumes of data are conveyed to parent companies via Amazon Echo and Google Home.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

I would never have such a device in our home, although I understand that cell phones can still record, even when they are not in use, but I haven't quite figured out how to break my reliance on it as a business tool.

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