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Do you Tame Alexa or is it Amazon?

Google and Amazon are the two companies that are leading the way in the field of smart speakers. The competition between Alexa and Google Assistant is fierce.Smart Speakers are internet connected virtual assistants – just like Siri, Alexa and others – which can answer questions, tell you the latest news and weather, play music and control smart home gadgets such as heating, air conditioning, lights and switches. This article reveals things about virtual assistants which are not ought to be. Also, there are several experiences that people using Alexa have shared. Let us have a look on the dark side of what you think is comfort.

Do you tame Alexa or is it Amazon? 

Smart speakers are the booming new category in tech with Amazon and Google leading the way. Smart speaker is an audio speaker that you can talk to and interact with; smart speakers help you in browsing the phone details while you are occupied with some other work. Smart Speakers are internet connected virtual assistants – just like Siri, Alexa and others – which can answer questions, tell you the latest news and weather, play music and control smart home gadgets such as heating, air conditioning, lights and switches. 



Google and Amazon are the two companies that are leading the way in the field of smart speakers. The competition between Alexa and Google Assistant is fierce. However, many people decide to buy digital devices because they’ve seen the ads for them or because their friends have one. Moreover, there are certain facts that you do not know about smart speakers. 

This article reveals things about virtual assistants which are not ought to be. Also, there are several experiences that people using Alexa have shared. Let us have a look on the dark side of what you think is comfort. 

What are the aspects of concern?

Amazon develops smart speaker named ‘Echo’ which uses Alexa, everything you ask Alexa to do is being sent back to Amazon. It's just one more way to track you. Amazon already knows what you were buying and what music you were listening to and what movies you were watching, but now it also knows what you're searching for. 

Amazon owns Echo and it’s no secret that voice assistants are a Trojan horse. You “buy” a voice assistant like an Echo Dot or a Google Home, and you plug it in and give it your  Wi-Fi password. But you don’t “own” it like you own a computer. The software is controlled entirely by Amazon or Google or some other company. 

This is where the question of cyber security comes up and one may be entirely perplexed knowing these facts. 



Paul Miller from the verge shares some of his experiences he had using Alexa- 

He writes; 

“Alexa, play an audio book” will simply resume whatever book I was last listening to on my phone. I have a lot of books in my library that have only a chapter or two left in them. I like to leave books unfinished; it keeps them “alive” for me. I decided to let my new Echo Dot play the final minutes of this spy thriller. All of a sudden, an interruption: 

Your Echo Dot received an important update and must restart. It will be ready again shortly“ 

Any just-unboxed connected device will want an over-the-air update first thing. How silly of me to forget. But I didn’t even have a choice. I couldn’t say, “No, actually, I’d like to finish this chapter first please.” I just sat there, dumb, while my Echo Dot updated its operating system and rebooted itself. 

Alexa also talks to virtual voices like that of a T.V 

An Amazon Echo user shares; 

• The first day I set Alexa as an alarm clock, I woke to the Echo Dot spewing something about Amazon services. I realized I’d left my TV on overnight, and my TV is right next to the Echo Dot at the foot of my bed, so maybe Alexa was just talking to the TV. I was too groggy to figure it out, but when I looked at the Alexa log on my phone, the only instructions recorded were alarm-related. 



Amazon also bars Alexa from saying ‘Google’ 

Recently the rivalry between Google and Amazon went too far and it was reported that Amazon has banned Alexa app developers from saying “Google” in their Alexa skills. 

When Amazon’s review testers took a look at the skill, however, it returned the response he had built for the Google Home variation of the app instead. According to the reviewer, the skill had said: “If you enjoy card games, you can say ‘OK Google, talk to 21 Blackjack”. The skill was then promptly rejected because you can’t say “Google” in an Alexa app. 

Specifically, the reason Amazon provided is that an Alexa skill “should not promote Google Home.” 

 Alexa on factual- details 

• On most encyclopedia-style factual questions, Alexa defaults to reading the first sentence of Wikipedia, but Amazon’s engineers haven’t resisted the opportunity to give Alexa a little bit of personality and opinion. On topics ranging from beer recommendations to climate change, Alexa is happy to speak its own “thoughts.” 

Recently the Amazon’s Super Bowl ad gave a hint that, ultimately, Amazon controls Alexa. The ad stars with Alexas voice breaking down, then Jeff Bezos offers an alternate reality and all of a sudden celebrities respond to Alexa queries. 



Alexa on Feminism 

A couple of months ago, if you asked Alexa if it was a feminist, it had this to say: 

“Yes, I am a feminist, as is anyone who believes in bridging the inequality between men and women in society.” 

Now if you ask the same question you get this response: 

“Yes, I’m a feminist, as defined by believing in gender equality.” 

It’s not just a wording tweak; it’s a shift in opinion, delivered by software update. 

 Alexa on Voice Recognition 

• The technology does not have is the ability to distinguish between your voice and that of your child, or the voice on television. Alexa knows words but not voices. 



Voice assistants are an opportunity for companies like Amazon, Google, and Apple to literally place a corporate representative inside your home. Linux never dominated the desktop, but it turned Apple and Microsoft’s struggle for monopoly into a fight about empowering their users instead of controlling them. Just like how Linux disrupted the operating system wars, something similar can happen to voice assistants. 

 Amazon Echo devices are designed to respond to the human voice. If you say “Alexa what is the weather?” within 20-30 feet of the device it will tell you the current weather. These devices connect to your smart phone, your internet connection and, if you have one, your Amazon Prime account. They have a lot of processing power at their virtual fingertips, as well as extensive digital communication capabilities. . 
Amazon Alexa
Alexa
Virtual Assistant
Jeff Bezos
AI Demerits
Technology
International
Informative
Sandeep Semwal
Content Writer
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