Andy Crouch - Code, Technology & Obfuscation ...

Your Home Assistant Listens

Alexa Home Assistant

Photo: Rahul Chakraborty - Unsplash

I was having an interesting conversation with my son about Alexa recently. He is 13 and his room is a trove of gadgets. I reminded him to be careful what he said near his dot as I would be able to find out from his phone what he has been saying. He didn’t realise and promised that there was nothing of interest for me to review.

I believed him … for now!

But, I’ve had similar conversations with various people about the home “assistants” available. Whats interesting is that no one that I speak to seems to understand how they work. That in order for the assistant to wake up when called, it has to be listening all the time. There is no magic when you call out ‘Alexa’ or “Hey Google”. The device has to constantly listen to spot the activation word or phrase.

The usefulness of turning your lights on or off is debatable. Instead, we should consider the hidden cost of that convenience.

I’d be interested to hey your thoughts on these assistants via twitter or email.