Saturday, 7 January 2017

Alexa, Murderess or accomplice?



If you do the Twitter thing, follow me at @HousingITguy or LinkedIn here https://uk.linkedin.com/in/tonysmiththathousingitguy


 
Well that's the festive season over again for another 51 weeks. What did Santa have in his sack for you this year? Maybe Amazon Echo and the seductive Alexa? If so, are you controlling your heating, sampling how to tackle a guacamole from scratch (a good idea IMHO), or where to buy some new ultra-bright 760 Lumen cycle lights? Or have you not switched it on at all?

My friend Mike, who I have some great cycle rides, & a few tasty ales with, has had Echo for a while. A useful gadget and Mike loves his gadgets, one of the contrasts between us, but why I always enjoy getting out with him. Alexa has been picking his Apple playlists & all kinds of stuff, his daughter loves her too and got started with her straight away. Call her name and she's there. Cool.

In fact, don't bother calling her name and she is in fact keeping her ear to your ground. She's in your home like some IOT bunnyboiler, or she is your obedient friend. One thing she surely is doing, is obediently recording your conversations and potentially these can be turned into product recommendations or future valuable advert targeting. Alexa hearing a baby cry, will that expose you to Amazon suggestions for bumper packs of pampers or that special offer on a bumper tub of E45? Now it's not so far fetched is it, like inviting the most persuasive and silver tongued marketing 'pro', into your own personal castle.  

What happens when Alexa witnesses a crime? Now I don't mean those pink cycling shorts ('oh my god - call the fashion police!!'), what about a real crime? In case you missed it, at the tail end of last year, Alexa was subject to a search warrant in Bentonville, Arkansas and helped add fuel to the fire, in a 'Hot Tub Drowning' murder case. Oh why oh why in the UK do we have such dreary murders? Read some of the chapter & verse here.

So frivolous this seems on the surface, it does pose some serious questions about IOT and how we use it. Particularly, where we are using it in positive ways with SocialHousing residents and others involved in care/support contracts. Can we guarantee usage of our information, how its interpreted and used today and in the future. While the past worry might have been Kyrgyzstan teenagers hacking our internet connected yuppie kettles and food mixers, the real danger might be the other trojans we welcome into our home, helping us with our lives. 

We need to question more pointedly, where our information, voices, interactions are recorded, transmitted, stored, and utilised, whether we are thinking personally, or for our residents & customers.

As ever, if I can help with digital transformation, EDRMS, Housing, Finance, Mobile, Channel Shift, Scheduling or Contractor systems, please be in touch!

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Related Post: So,why are so many software implementers one chord wonders? 


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The Power Station - MurderessThe Power Station - Murderess.
(c) Tony Smith, Acutance Consulting www.acutanceconsulting.co.uk 07854-655009


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