It’s only a feature when …


… it does what you want it to do.

A current rage/feature is voice recognition to instruct your device to do what you want it to.

In the field, we have Alexa, Google Home, Siri, Cortana and probably more that I don’t know about.  The naysayers will have us believing that the next field of privacy encroachment will be one where our devices listen to us and report back to someone or something.  Recently, we’ve heard of the television that “spies on you”.  Your Samsung SmartTV Is Spying on You, Basically   And, of course, the internet will provide advice and tips for protecting your privacy.  How to Prevent Your TV Spying on You  Is this the price we pay for having the latest features, higher than high resolution, a television that’s really just another internet connected device?

Now, my television isn’t modern enough to spy on me.  I hope.

But, this hits just a little closer to home.

Would it work here?

You see, I have this watch which is awesome for voice searches and quick note taking when I’m away from the keyboard.  I took a quick look around the room to make sure that nobody was watching so I wouldn’t have to explain it, turned off the speakers playing the music I always listen to while blogging, tapped the watch to make sure that it was awake, held my arm close to the computer speakers, started the video above to play it, sat back to watch, and take a picture when the magic happened.  Yes, I do think I have three arms at times like this.

The result?

In the big scheme of things, this really isn’t that big a deal.

Stepping back, suppose I was walking the dog and was curious to know what went into a Whopper.  I could have done the “OK Google” and issued the command myself.  That is good.  For Burger King to do it over the television in the form of advertising is bad.  Put yourself in the position of the watch developer.  How do you program something like that to know the difference?

I suppose the immediate solution would be voice recognition.  It’s OK for Doug’s voice to ask the question but not for some random person on television or YouTube not to.

A nice feature for a home assistant would be to “OK Google, allow my visitor to get on the WIFI”.  That would save the inevitable question when a visitor arrives to do some work with me.  But, I don’t want my mooching neighbour to be able to do the same thing.

I read once that there are two industries that take the lead in exploiting the latest technology – Adult Entertainment and Advertising.  It does pose real challenges for the end user and for applications to use it in the way that we want and not the way that someone/something else wants.

It’s not just this immediate technology that does things you don’t want.  There are a couple of games that I play regularly on the iPad to kill some time.  After I’ve played them long enough, I start to know what the next dialogue will be.  If I get into a routine of rote playing, I know what’s coming and where I should be tapping.  However, at random, the game will insert an advertisement to download another application, or buy some coins, or watch an advertisement, or …  More than once, I’ve whacked the home button and threatened to throw the device away when this happens.  Again, I hope that there was nobody watching.  My personal solution was to ensure that only I can buy things by requiring my password each time something is acquired from the Apple Store rather than having it saved and filled in automatically.

Google apparently has fixed this problem. It Looks Like Google Has Shut Down Burger King’s Ad

But, you can’t devise a strategy by putting your finger in the dike every time you see a leak.  I suspect that we’ll see a permanent solution with time but, in the meanwhile, we do need to keep an eye on our devices and make sure that they are doing what we want and not what others want.

How about Burger King’s competitor?  McDonald’s puts you in control.  New McDonald’s Ad Urges People to Google ‘That Place Where Coke Tastes so Good’  I just had to ask.  The difference is that I asked the question.

Think it’s not a big deal?  Check out the commands available per device.  Do you want to be in complete control or are you comfortable with someone/something else at the reins?

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OTR Links 04/19/2017


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.