“Alexa. What’s 50 factorial?”
“Alexa. Let’s Play Jeopardy.”
“Alexa. Sing Happy Birthday to me.”
“Alexa. Tell Me a Joke.”
“Alexa. Play Bruce Springsteen.”
Those are among the many commands I have issued to my Amazon Echo device over the past few years. The device answers promptly, and correctly. It’s one of the reasons I enjoy the device too much.
Apparently, the device is also always listening to us.
From smart speakers in the kitchen to smart cameras in the doorbell to our ever-present smartphone, this technology is built to record, watch, or listen to information in real-time.
Many people are concerned about such technology, calling it an invasion of privacy. I don’t view it that way, but since that seemed to be the message I heard over and over, I just assumed that the majority of Americans must feel that way.
However, a report by Safety.com finds 66.7 percent of U.S. residents over 18 wouldn’t have a problem finding out a home gadget is listening in on what’s going on inside their home. Researchers polled nearly 1,100 people between the ages of 18 and 64 during December of 2020.
I have to admit I was kind of surprised with those results, but also kind of happy to know that I was not alone in my opinion.
Here were some more detailed results:
- Baby boomers are much more concerned about digital devices recording their conservations than Millennials or young adults in Generation Z. Adults in Generation X are split on the issue.
- The poll found that women are more unnerved about smart devices than men are, by a margin of seven percent.
- Residents in tech-dominant cities and regions are more accepting of potentially being recorded than Americans in communities with less high-tech development.
The poll also found that the general sentiment regarding privacy and technology is “if someone isn’t guilty of anything, then what difference does it make if they’re being listened to?”
That’s my perspective as well.
My Amazon Echo device can record my conversation from when I wake up until I go to bed, and that would be fine with me. If it really is a smart device, it would quickly learn that doing so is a colossal waste of time.
After all, there can’t be much value in listening to me tell my wife and son my updated WordPress stats every couple of hours…