Culture & Ethics
No, Thanks, Jeff Bezos. I Do NOT Want Alexa Controlling My Home.
CNBC has this headline, “Amazon is showing what it’s like to have a home completely controlled by Alexa.”
Amazon wants to show you how much you can rely on its Alexa voice assistant to control everything in your home, from thermostats to TVs.
The company announced Wednesday it’s partnering with homebuilder Lennar to create “Amazon Experience Centers” — model homes containing built-in Alexa-controlled appliances — in hopes of persuading homeowners and homebuyers to embed Amazon services into their houses.
Lennar is outfitting model homes with TVs connected to Amazon’s Fire TV system, buttons that can reorder goods from Amazon, and Alexa-enabled products that allow customers to control the lights, TV, shades and other appliances with their voices…..
For Amazon, it’s another example of how badly it wants to be in your home. Doing so lets it collect valuable data on how you purchase goods.
No, thanks. A thousand times, no. Who in the world is excited by this possibility? I’ve had friends say, regarding the ever-listening Alexa, that they have “nothing to hide.” Oh really? Every time you close the shower curtain or the bathroom or bedroom door, you are demonstrating the human instinct to defend your privacy. Dogs don’t have this. It’s an aspect of what Wesley J. Smith calls human exceptionalism.
Imagine the most routine, innocuous conversation you had with your spouse yesterday. Say, about what to pick up at the market for dinner. If that were suddenly broadcast now over a loudspeaker at work, or if you had a suspicion someone was listening in, would that not disturb and embarrass you? I think it would, because you are a human being. That is what happens when the expectation of privacy is negated. But the tech geniuses are tying to gradually talk and train you out of this.
I would pay to NOT have Alexa controlling ANY part of my home. And maybe someday I will have to do just that. It is already the case that, as a random example, if I refused to let my local QFC supermarket track all my purchases through what they call, in an Orwellian master stroke, my “Advantage Card” number, that would cost me a bundle in lost “discounts.” Not only for groceries, but for gas. I enter my QFC number every time I stop at the Shell station.
“Advances” like this, more and more of what J.R.R. Tolkien called “Mordor gadgets,” are creepy beyond belief.
Photo: Jeff Bezos directs Alexa to open Amazon Spheres in Seattle (screen shot), via CNBC.