๐Ÿ’ฌ Issue [#327]: Happy New Year!

Replied to Issue [#327]: Happy New Year! by Doug Belshaw (Thought Shrapnel)

I had a bit of an epiphany when I realised that one of the main uses of AI is, or will be, voice assistants. In practice, that means a lot less time spent looking at displays and a lot more time interacting with devices using natural language. To do that, voice assistant need to know the context in which you operate, so they need to have data on you.

I’m notย delightedย to be handing over so much data to Google, but given their GDPR-compliant controls, I’m willing to give it a try. The Lenovo device is in our kitchen and has replaced our DAB radio, and the Onkyo speaker is in our bedroom. Both of them have hardware switches which mute the microphone when they’re not being used.

I really am not sold on all this move to smart devices Doug. My wife recently purchased an iWatch and has taken to messaging directly from it. I now need to check if she is talking to her phone, watch or me. I have also noticed this on public transport. I have two particular reservations:

  1. What if everyone was talking at once? What would that look and sound like?
  2. What about the conversations that may not be appropriate for speaking out loud in public or in private.

I respect there are some who see such constructive uses as a God send (read Richard Wells reflection), however this depends upon an appropriate space.

My other question is uses beyond the novel. Yeah I can ask Google a question or play a track from The National, but what else? I am really interested in what particular workflows you develop in conjunction with your smart things.

NOTE: I have written this response in the open web and respect your desire to restrict such conversations to paying subscribers, which I am not one, sorry.

One response on “๐Ÿ’ฌ Issue [#327]: Happy New Year!”

  1. Hey Aaron, thanks for the response. I did turn on comments on Thought Shrapnel for a week as a test last year, but no-one took the opportunity to reply. Webmentions are turned on, but you’re linking to MailChimp here.

    In response to your two questions:

    I’ve spent the last few years being overly-concerned about other people’s use of tech rather than my own. I work, and obviously live, at home, so I don’t have to think too much about everyone using voice assistant all at the same time. Interestingly, the Google Assistant does ‘voice matching’ meaning my personal devices (e.g. my smartphone) only respond to me.
    Voice assistants are a convenience. There are, of course, other ways of inputting data.

    As I said in my newsletter, one of the great things for me is that, given how long I look at screens each day, I can set reminders, get weather updates, and listen to the news and to music without viewing a display.

    It’s not for everyone, but I can’t see that we’re putting the genie back in this bottle.

    Finally, a note on on the coda to your post. I have supporters of Thought Shrapnel who encourage me to keep it going. It’s not a paywall.

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