In a recent episode of the “Let’s talk about tech – Tech phone-in” podcast, the presenters were debating the extent to which smart voice assistants like Alexa presented a security and privacy threat.
Fevzi Turkalp, from GadgetDetective.com, explained:
The way that Alexa works (…) is that the smart bit of it is done on the Amazon server. So, everything that you say after you say the wake word (…) will be recorded, and sent instantaneously over the internet to Amazon.
Amazon then use their artificial intelligence programmes to try and understand the meaning of what you said. And, then, provide the answer, and send the answer back for the unit to speak.
There is a button in the unit that allows you to switch off those microphones. A red light comes on to say that they are not connected. Then, it depends how trusting you are. If you are trusting, that’s fine. You see the light is on, and you speak freely. If you are me, you unplug it.
We used to say ‘not in front of the children, dear’. And, now, we say ‘not in front of Alexa’.
I don’t have experience with Alexa. But, now and then, Siri startles me with a ‘Sorry, I did not get that’. And it does make me think carefully about what I was saying just before Siri piped in.
How do you feel about smart voice assistant technology?