Voice recognition technology is taking over and at the rate Australians take up new technology, it won’t be long before most homes have an assistant device.
Whether it be Google Home, Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri or Microsoft’s Cortana, these devices are aimed at making things simpler.
There is no doubt that delivering commands via speech is much easier and faster than typing commands into a keypad, as well as being more natural. These devices also allow you to concentrate on your task instead of looking at a screen (picture having a recipe being read to you, instead of constantly referring to a book or screen).
Hands-free technologies may also increase autonomy for the elderly and individuals with disabilities. There is also talk about setting up these devices to monitor a person’s health and movement around the home, to help the elderly who choose to age in place.
While smart home technologies can offer feelings of comfort and security for some users, there may also be security risks associated with an always-on microphone.
Smart home systems are part of a larger suite of devices, apps, websites and spaces that collect, aggregate and analyse personal data about users.
To get the full benefits of smart home systems, users must share their locations, routines, tastes in music, shopping history, and so forth. All of this information benefits companies such as Amazon that then use this data to target advertising and marketing to you.
Another risk of using these smart devices is that they are not always capable of distinguishing between voices. There have been numerous cases of children ordering unwanted items from Amazon, while in some instances even the noise from the TV has been found to be responsible for unwanted purchases.
If you are deciding whether you want one of these devices in your home, you have to weigh up the convenience of having an assistant at your beck and call with the significant security and surveillance concerns of having a microphone that is always on.
Do you own a voice recognition assistant? Would you consider getting one?