|Courtesy of Workingthewebtowin.com|
Just when you thought online privacy couldn’t get any worst, technology developers have unveiled software that lets your smartphone eavesdrop on your TV viewing habits. Called
, this Android-based third-party
app uses your smartphone to listen for television shows, in turn providing advertisers
with information concerning user’s viewing habits. When the app was unleashed in
Europe, it caused the US Federal Trade Commission to send letters to12 developers
known to be using SilverPush . While the SilverPush
of developer claims that the software hasn’t been used in the US as of yet, the
feds warned them that use on American smartphones would result in the developers
being held liable for damages if users weren’t made aware of the data being collected. SilverPush
You can’t put the toothpaste back in the YouTube
More troubling than the development of an eavesdropping app is the fact that this and other similar technology currently on the shelf could open a Pandora’s Box letting the virtual marketing spy into our lives. This is beginning to take place as our homes, businesses and vehicles start to become virtual listening stations. Soon other IoT devices could easily be turned into spies. Already there is technology like Apple Siri, Google Now, Amazon’s Alexa, and Microsoft Cortana that listen and learn from users ostensibly to help them get more out of their Internet browsing experience. But what would happen if the same technology that allows us to ask for useful information should suddenly be turned against us?
Virtual Assistant Turned into a Virtual Salesperson
|Courtesy of youtube.com|
The Amazon Echo helps you do a lot of things beyond shopping, which is a big reason why it has become an out-of-nowhere sensation. But for the Echo to “achieve the long-term vision,” according to Amazon’s devices head David Limp, it’s going to have to become an all-out shopping machine.
Indeed, the only thing that limits Echo users from shopping till they drop at present is the fact that currently the device is audio-only. This means that while you can easily order commodities via voice, ordering other items such as clothing that requires a consumer to see the product they are interested in purchasing is still not available. Not that the powers that be at Amazon aren’t considering the solution to this dilemma.
Limp declined to give any hints on how Amazon plans to close the gap between the ordering capabilities available today and the long-term shopping goals of tomorrow. One far-out idea? Pairing the Echo with a virtual reality headset to show an Echo user an item as they ask Alexa about it, all without the need to take out a phone or laptop.
|Courtesy of youtube.com|
- A VR enabled virtual assistant already makes it possible to work in a virtual office, complete with virtual secretary.
- A VR/AI enabled physician could make virtual house calls a reality.
- You’d have a virtual research assistance literally at your fingertips.
- With the right app, your home and business could be protected by a virtual security guard.
- You could give your child an AI equipped smartphone to act as a virtual nanny.
Quite literally, as AI evolves, more and more tasks that require human intervention will be outsourced to virtual employees. Whether this is a good thing or bad depends upon whether or not it is your job that is being replaced. However, much as there is potential for progress in the virtual world, there also lurks the potential for abuse.
In the first place, what most people who use digital assistants do not understand is that there are people in the pipeline. While digital assistants act as though they are holding a conversation with you, there are legions of writers that are employed on a daily basis to determine what Siri, Cortana, Alexa and Google Now say.
In an article on PCWorld.com entitled, “How real people help Cortana, Siri and other virtual assistants feel alive,” writer Mike Elgin points out that while people know that they’re talking to a computer, they are also struck by the fact that the responses they receive seem far more human than they expect.
|Courtesy of pcworld.com|
These writing teams
a meeting every morning
where they pour over the questions being posed to their AI as well as the responses
given. This means that all questions posed
to an AI are recorded and subject to review by a human being. Each AI also has a preprogrammed personality that
is written much like a character in a novel.
That should come as no surprise since the writing staff assigned to update
all AI includes novelists, screenwriters,
playwrights and essayists. virtually take
Will Big Brother Arrive Disguised as Little Sister?
So while you might entrust your AI of choice to answer simple questions, don’t entrust her with any business secrets. Also, don’t trust either big business or the hacking community, not to exploit technology that allows them to virtually wiretap your life. Especially when their front man comes disguised as a digital assistant with a soothing female voice.
In a January 2015 blog on the Huffington Post entitled, “Will Big Data Be Used to Create Ad Zombies or Virtual Assistants?” writer Gary Ebersole cites a South Park episode that lampoons the loss of privacy online.
|Courtesy of youtube.com|
He also points out that the episode alludes to the fact that George Orwell’s vision of Big Brother is rapidly being replaced by Big Business. Ebersole further emphasizes that the best way to avoid being steered like a herd of
sheep to do their corporate overlords
business is for consumers to demand transparency from corporations out to harvest
ever more personal information. What he doesn’t
address is the fact that most Americans have already ceded their right to online
privacy by allowing big business to strip mine their browsing and buying habits. lobotomized
Virtual Visigoths are at the Gate
|Courtesy of Websiteknowhow.com|
In this article I have covered the alarming emergence of our appliances spying on us. This trend started with the introduction of “The Internet of Things” and has now manifested itself as virtual assistances turned marketing spy’s. This article covers everything from the new smart phone app “
”, designed to listen
to which TV shows you’re watching, to Echo’s Alexa and how Amazon plans to use it
to achieve more sales. I even provide links to articles that provide more detail
on this subject. SilverPush
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Carl Weiss is president of WorkingtheWebtoWin.com a digital marketing agency in Jacksonville, Florida that routinely works with bloggers and other online marketers to grow their businesses.