Alexa could be about to get a lot more creepy. An Amazon patent suggests the voice assistant could one day listen to all of your conversations and even butt in with suggestions.
Unsurprisingly, it’s all about selling you stuff.
“Topics of potential interest to a user, useful for purposes such as targeted advertising and product recommendations, can be extracted from voice content produced by a user,” the document explains. “A computing device can capture voice content, such as when a user speaks into or near the device.
“One or more sniffer algorithms or processes can attempt to identify trigger words in the voice content, which can indicate a level of interest of the user. For each identified potential trigger word, the device can capture adjacent audio that can be analyzed, on the device or remotely, to attempt to determine one or more keywords associated with that trigger word.”
Related: Amazon Echo vs Google Home
The voice assistant is technically already always-listening, but right now you have to invite it into conversations by calling out its trigger word − Alexa. In the future, your Echo device might be much more proactive, joining in whenever it wants to.
This might just be one of the worst moments for the patent to appear, considering the ongoing Facebook data privacy scandal, and this particular section isn’t going to do much for the reputation of big tech companies:
“The identified keywords can be stored and/or transmitted to an appropriate location accessible to entities such as advertisers or content providers who can use the keywords to attempt to select or customize content that is likely relevant to the user.”
We wouldn’t want that data to be used for anything else now, would we?
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