Amazon rolled out the latest update to its voice assistant, Alexa, this week, and I’m officially creeped out.
The behemoth tech company announced plans to refine Alexa’s tone when interacting with its owner, in an effort to make the device seem more personal and human-like. (RELATED: WORLD’S WOKEST TECH WRITER COMES UNGLUED BECAUSE AMAZON’S ALEXA IS NOT A FEMINIST)
Tech site Wired reported the following:
Alexa will able to confer with you in whispers before the end of the year, making Amazon’s voice-operated assistant less awkward to use when someone is, say, sleeping nearby. Amazon will also make its assistant capable of listening for trouble such as breaking glass or a smoke alarm when you’re away from home, a feature called Alexa Guard.
Meanwhile, inside Amazon’s labs, the company is experimenting with giving Alexa a rudimentary form of emotional awareness, enabling it to listen for the sound of frustration in a person’s voice.
Oh no no no no no. Alexa will absolutely NOT be developing a form of emotional awareness. Not under my roof.
We need to wake up, people! This is how it starts. First, robots start taking our online orders. They learn our habits, our favorite foods, and whether we like two, three, or four-ply toilet paper. Then they start suggesting products, movies, and hobbies for us. They learn our names, our family’s names, our personal info. And then they start learning our tendencies. And then this happens.
Alexa’s on the fast track to being a human. And since I know a thing or two about AI (I loosely skimmed the Wikipedia on it once), it never stops improving. It keeps learning, perfecting, and getting stronger. Until one day it’s like Tom Brady had a kid with Optimus Prime on steroids and it harvests our brains for the robot galaxy takeover.
There’s no way in hell I’m whispering to my Alexa tonight. I’m perfectly fine reading myself bedtime stories instead. I’m going to keep Alexa’s knowledge to the following: my social security number, my bank account, my home address, hopes, dreams and crushes. You know. The bare minimums.
You can never be too safe.