Is Alexa Part Of Your New Home?



What is Alexa?

Alexa is an intelligent personal assistant that makes use of machine learning and artificial intelligence. It is designed to be always on and woken with a simple voice command.

Alexa, created by Amazon, is the dominate player in the digital assistant space and in recent years has become a household name. Alexa was first launched in 2014 along with the Amazon Echo smart speaker. Google Home was release two years later and last year Apple released its HomePod.

Alexa’s machine learning skills makes it one of the most successful applications in the AI (Artificial Intelligence) race thus far.

Amazon has established an early foothold in the war for digital assistant supremacy, but for those that don't use Alexa or one of its competitors, there's still the question of why do I need one?


Why do I need AI in the home?

Maybe you have an extremely busy household, are time poor and always rushing around and out the door. Or maybe you just need to have the latest tech stuff at your fingertips, or maybe you’re just a little lazy. Whatever, why not take advantage of these incredible devices and get a taste of the future today?

From a voice command you can perform web searches, create calendar events, modify to-do lists and notes, order products, play music, read Twitter posts, recite email, and perform many other tasks. And the list is still growing.

When you speak these devices use natural language learning and speech recognition to transmit your request to their servers, which is where the real work is done. Machine learning software processes the spoken request and sends a response back to the device within the confines of a normal conversation.

As more third-party applications integrate, offering access to their services via digital assistants, the more useful and convenient digital assistants will become... order a ride share, a pizza or buy online using your voice.


What about my privacy?

The ‘always-on’ microphone can be a privacy concern, and rightfully so. Who really knows who’s listening! In theory, there is not transmission of any audio until the wake word is heard.

And to put your mind at ease slightly, you can view everything sent to the servers in the app. Not that this really answers the question!

So, much like the privacy concerns around any big collectors of our data, it depends how it is stored and how it is used. We’re all using just another marketing monster that will be able to determine what we like, dislike, need and want.

...Are you inviting Alexa into your new home?