Amazon has been known for its powerful A.I. devices, such as the Echo and the Tap. however, it seems that amazon is not content with just building A.I. devices- it seems that the company is also interested in listening in on your conversations with these devices.
Amazon’s Alexa Is Listening To You! Here’s the truth.
People have been suspicious of things like the Amazon Echo for about as long as we have had smart speakers. As these devices multiply and evolve, so does our paranoia. After all, this is how technology companies make their money. Google tracks what you search for so it can serve you ads based on your interests. Facebook and Instagram do the same with the types of posts you interact with. So, is Amazon using their Echo devices to spy on you and gather data on your shopping preferences? The answer is a little more nuanced than you might think.
What the company doesn’t tell you explicitly, as highlighted by an in-depth investigation from Bloomberg published this evening, is that one of the only, and often the best, ways Alexa improves over time is by having human beings listen to recordings of your voice requests. Of course, this is all buried in product and service terms few consumers will ever read, and Amazon has often downplayed the privacy implications of having cameras and microphones in millions of homes around the globe. But concerns about how AI is trained as it becomes an ever more pervasive force in our daily lives will only continue to raise alarms, especially as most of how this technology works remains beyond closed doors and improves using methods Amazon is unwilling to ever disclose.
Amazon, like many other tech companies investing heavily in artificial intelligence, has always been forthright about its Alexa assistant being a work in progress. “The more data we use to train these systems, the better it works, and training Alexa with voice recordings from a diverse range of customers helps ensure Alexa works well for everyone,” reads the company’s FAQ.
Recently, it was reported that amazon has been hiring people specifically to listen to your conversations with the echo and the tap. this is worrying not only because it gives amazon access to a tremendous amount of data but also because it underscores just how invasive these devices can be. if you are uncomfortable with Amazon being able to listen in on your conversations, be sure to adjust your settings accordingly.
Amazon’s Echo speakers are undoubtedly a fun, and useful addition to the modern home. However, by default, they are not always set up to be as discreet with your data as you might like. As such, it is important to regularly review the settings that are available to you so that you are in control and comfortable with what you are allowing Amazon to have access to. With the privacy settings under control, you are free to enjoy your Amazon Echo without worrying about ulterior motives.
That said, Amazon has been accused of being less than transparent in its handling of user data, especially since it was revealed that it was keeping transcripts of conversations users had deleted. If you’re worried about Alexa spying on you there are several things you can do to make it safer, but still usable.
No matter how suspicious it has seemed that Amazon is encouraging us to put listening devices in every room of our homes, the company has always said that its Echo assistants are not listening in on or recording conversations. Over and over again, company spokespeople have promised that they only start recording if someone says the wake word: “Alexa”.