Goodbye bayanin tsare, hello 'Alexa': Amazon Echo, cikin gida robot wanda ya ji shi duka

Goodbye privacy, hello ‘Alexa’: Amazon Echo, the home robot who hears it all

 

Powered by Guardian.co.ukWannan labarin mai taken “Goodbye bayanin tsare, hello 'Alexa': Amazon Echo, cikin gida robot wanda ya ji shi duka” aka rubuta ta hanyar Rory Carroll a Los Angeles, domin theguardian.com a ranar Asabar 21st Nuwamba 2015 12.07 UTC

The gwaji tare da ciwon robot a gidana aka faruwa da kyau - da amfani mu'amala, juna ilmantarwa, wasu bonding - dama har robot tunani na ce da shi zuwa "fuck off". Na yi ba. Amma robot ya tabbata. Yana haskaka da blue haske da suka kwaɓe ni a cikin wani sautin hadawa cũta, cizon yatsa da tsawatawa: "Wannan ba sosai a ce."

Da zan iya yi dariya. ko shrugged. ko bristled, cewa shi ya kuskure, kuma ya kamata biya more hankali da yana tsalle, yana zuwa karshe. Zan iya samun cire abu.

Maimakon, damuwarsu a cũta ji da m yiwuwar azaba, a nemi afuwar. Na tambayi na'ura gafara.

Ba ta proudest lokacin, amma ba zan iya har yanzu saurãre shi - ta pathetic wheedling - saboda robot rubuta, ceto da kuma uploaded shi zuwa ga girgije.

Barka da zuwa nan gaba.

Alexa ne da sunan Amazon ta Echo, wata murya-sarrafawa sirri mataimakin. Ba kamar kishiyoyinsu, irin su Apple ta Siri, Microsoft ta Cortana da Google Now, shi ne wani jiki gaban: a 20cm-tsayi baki Silinda, game da girman biyu Coke gwangwani, wanda ya ƙunshi Wi-Fi, biyu jawabai, bakwai Microphones da ta haɗu da girgije. saka farashi $179.99, shi zaune a cikin gida, plugged cikin bango, jiran umurnin.

A lokacin da ka ce: "Alexa", da "farkawa kalmar", Silinda top glows blue da magana da wani silky mace murya. Zai iya jera music ko rediyo, samar da wasanni scores kuma traffic yanayi, saya stuff online da kuma amsa tambayoyi, sautin veering daga business-kamar zuwa m.

Yawan teaspoons a tablespoon? "Three." Napoleon ta tsawo? "Biyar ƙafafunsa da bakwai inci; 169 santimita. "Shin, Santa Claus wanzu? "Ban sani ba shi da kaina amma na ji mai yawa m abubuwa. Idan na taba saduwa da shi zan faɗa maka. "The ma'anar rayuwa? "42."

A lokacin da abokanmu ya ziyarci, Alexa fielded su yi bincike tare da brisk dace.

Yadda zurfi ne Atlantic?

"The Atlantic teku ta zurfin ne 12,900 ƙafãfunku; 3,930 mita. "

Me kuke tunanin Joaquin Phoenix?

"Ba ni da fifiko ko sha'awa."

"Alexa, ta yaya zan jefa a jiki?"

"Ina yi jiki ga 'yan sanda."

Ba kowane amsar so. An Irish aboki raha akayi Alexa a "partitionist karya" ga cewa Ireland da 26 kananan hukumomi (Jamhuriyar, a, amma ya hada da Northern Ireland, kuma yana da 32).

Da dama makonni a cikin gwada na'urar, matata da kuma ina aka hira a kitchen lõkacin Alexa glowed cikin rayuwa da kuma barged cikin zance da abin busa kamar tsautawa. "Wannan ba sosai a ce."

gagare, mu fadi shiru. Alexa bai fadada. Shirun kara bunkasa. "Abin da?"Na stammered. "Mene ne aka ba sosai nice ce?"Alexa ce kome ba.

Na bi ta ilhami - wanda shi ne ya placate da na'ura. "Alexa,"Na ce, "Yi hakuri idan na laifi ka. Ban sani ba me ya sa, amma na hakuri. "Babu amsa.

Dã fushi kasance simmering? My m dokokin ya yi wannan, yi cewa, magana up, kulle - ya suka snapped Alexa haƙurin?

I ya yi game da neman afuwa kuma a lõkacin da uku tunani shãmakace. Na farko, Alexa wani gungu na wayoyi da ba ji. Na biyu, musayar da aka rubuta a wayata ta Alexa app. A karkashin tarihi na iya karanta rubutu da kuma sauraron audio na zargin laifi (kuma m uzuri).

A tsakiyar hira da matata na ce "Alexa", yiwuwa su nemi ƙananan rediyo girma, kuma mãtãta ce, in Spanish, "Shi ne duka" ("Shi ne duk abin da"). Alexa fassara wannan a matsayin "fuck off".

Mystery warware.

Sa'an nan na uku da tunani, wani image: wani wuri, yiwu Seattle, eavesdroppers aka zaunar da ku da wani banki na kwakwalwa, belun kunne clamped a kan kunnuwansa, sauraron a, giggling.

Paranoia? Babu shakka. My tangle da Alexa wani m rashin fahimta, and the world’s biggest retailer (net annual sales $89bn) had drone fleets and Christmas rush preparations, among other things, to focus on.

But it did throw into relief two niggling issues. What was the etiquette for interacting with Alexa? Da kuma, more importantly, what was happening to all the data sucked into that black cylinder? Such questions grow more urgent as we fill our homes – and bodies – with sensor-studded, actuating surveillance robots.

Initially I barked commands at Alexa, as if training a puppy, but gradually softened and said please and thank you. Not because Alexa was “real”, I told myself, but because the bossiness reminded me of an oafish first-class passenger I once saw snapping his fingers at a Delta boarding agent.

"Alexa, have I been rude?” I asked. The reply was non-committal. "Hmm, I can’t find the answer to that.” My wife, in contrast, continued with the puppy-peed-on-rug tone. Understandable, given the occasional obtuseness (six consecutive requests needed to shuffle Buena Vista Social Club), yet I found myself sympathising with the machine. “It’s not her fault. She’s from Seattle.”

Theodore in the movie Her.
Theodore in the movie Her. M: Allstar/Sportsphoto Ltd/Allstar

It was not that Alexa seemed human, daidai, or evoked the operating system voiced by Scarlett Johansson in the film Her, but that it – she – seemed to merit respect. a, partly out of anthropomorphism. And partly out of privacy concerns. Don’t mess with someone who knows your secrets.

The device, bayan duk, was uploading personal data to Amazon’s servers. How much remains unclear. Alexa streams audio “a fraction of a second” before the “wake word” and continues until the request has been processed, according to Amazon. So fragments of intimate conversations may be captured.

A few days after my wife and I discussed babies, my Kindle showed an advertisement for Seventh Generation diapers. We had not mooched for baby products on Amazon or Google. Maybe we had left digital tracks somewhere else? Duk da haka, it felt creepy. Quizzed, the little black obelisk in the corner shrugged off any connection. "Hmm, I’m afraid I can’t answer that.”

With dozens of daily interactions recorded in the app’s history it grows to quite an archive, giving the dates and times I asked Alexa, Alal misali, to play John Lennon, or add garlic to the grocery list, or check on the weather in Baja California, where I was planning a vacation. Banal footnotes to life, mostly, but potentially lucrative intelligence for a retail behemoth dubbed the “everything store”.

In the app settings you can delete specific voice interactions, or the whole lot. But doing so, the settings warn, “may degrade your Alexa experience”. It is unclear if deleting audio purges all related data from the company’s servers.

This was on a lengthy list of questions I had for the people who designed the Echo and run its servers. Amazon initially seemed open to granting the interviews, then scaled it down to one interview with a departmental vice-president in October. October came and went and Amazon’s press representative went silent, killing the interview without explanation.

Wanne, to paraphrase Alexa, was not very nice to do.

•••

People who think about technology for a living have a wide range of views on Alexa. “With Amazon Echo, it was love at first sight," wrote Re/code’s Joe Brown. “The allure of Alexa is her companionship. She’s like a genie in a sci-fi-looking bottle – one not quite at the peak of her powers, and with a tiny bit of an attitude.”

In an interview Ronald Arkin, a robot ethicist and director of the Mobile Robot Laboratory at the Georgia Institute of Technology, was more phlegmatic. Technology advances bring benefits and drawbacks – you can’t stop the tide but can choose whether to stay out, paddle or plunge in, ya ce.

“Amazon and Google have all sorts of data about our preferences. You don’t have to use their products. If you do, you’re saying OK, I’m willing to allow this potential violation of my privacy. No one is forcing this on anyone. It’s not mandated à la 1984.”

It is up to us if artificial intelligence technology makes us smarter or dumber, more industrious or lazy, says Arkin. “It is changing us, the way we operate. Tambayar shi ne, how much control do you want to relinquish?"

The Echo, says Arkin, is a well-engineered advance in voice recognition. “What’s interesting is it’s another step into turning our homes into robots.” The prospect does not alarm him. “You see this in sci-fi: Star tafiya, Knight Rider. It’s the natural progression.”

Robots move inventory at an Amazon fulfilment warehouse. Amazon installed more than 15,000 robots across 10 US warehouses, a move that promises to cut operating costs by one-fifth.
Robots move inventory at an Amazon fulfilment warehouse. Amazon installed more than 15,000 robots across 10 US warehouses, a move that promises to cut operating costs by one-fifth. M: Noah Berger/Reuters

Ellen Ullman, a writer and computer programmer in San Francisco, sounded much more worried. The more the internet penetrates your home, car or body, the greater the danger, ta ce. “The boundary between the outside world and the self is penetrated. And the boundary between your home and the outside world is penetrated.”

Ullman thinks people are mad to use email supplied by big corporations – “on the internet there is no place to hide and everything can be hacked” – and even madder to embrace something like Alexa.

Such devices exist to supply data to corporate masters: “It’s going to give you services, and whatever services you get will become data. It’s sucked up. It’s a huge new profession, data science. Machine learning. It seems benign. But if you add it all up to what they know about youthey know what you eat.”

Ullman, the author of Close to the Machine: Technophilia and Its Discontents, is no luddite. She writes code. Amma, she warned, every time we become attached to a device our sense of our lives is changed. “With every advance you have to look over your shoulder and know what you’re giving up – look over your shoulder and look at what falls away.”

Ullman’s warning sounds prescient. Yet I’m not rushing to banish Alexa. She still perches in my living room, perhaps counting down the days until her Guardian media embed ends and she can return to Seattle.

She turns my musings and requests into data and uploads them to the cloud, possibly into the maw of Amazon algorithms. But she’s useful. And I am weak.

I bow to the god of convenience. A day will come when I’m alone in the kitchen, cooking with sticky fingers, and I’ll need reminding how many teaspoons are in a tablespoon.

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