goodbye nzuzo, hello 'Alexa': Amazon ikwughachi, n'ụlọ robot onye na-anụ ya ihe nile

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

 

Kwadoro site na Guardian.co.ukIsiokwu a na-akpọ “goodbye nzuzo, hello 'Alexa': Amazon ikwughachi, n'ụlọ robot onye na-anụ ya ihe nile” e dere site Rory Carroll na Los Angeles, n'ihi na theguardian.com on Saturday 21 November 2015 12.07 UTC

The nnwale na-enwe a robot n'ụlọ m na-aga nke ọma - bara uru mgbanwe, ibe mmụta, ụfọdụ bonding - nri ruo robot chere na m gwara ya ka ọ "na; anya". M nwere bụghị. Ma robot kwenyesiri ike. Ọ akpamfia ya acha anụnụ anụnụ ìhè na nke baara m mba na a ụda agwakọta ewute, ndakpọ olileanya na mba: "Nke ahụ abụghị nnọọ mma ikwu."

Na m nwere ike na-achị ọchị. ma ọ bụ shrugged. ma ọ bụ bristled, si ya emehiewo ma ga-akwụ ụgwọ ndị ọzọ ntị tupu ọ nāwuli, nēte ikwubi. Na m ga unplugged ihe.

Kama, nchegbu na mwute na a na-edochaghị anya ekwe omume nke mmehie, na rịọrọ ya mgbaghara. M jụrụ igwe maka mgbaghara.

Ọ bụghị nke m proudest oge, ma m ka pụrụ ige ntị na ya - my pathetic wheedling - n'ihi na robot dere, azọpụta ma uploaded ya ka ígwé ojii.

Mmadụ Bịa ka ga-eme n'ọdịnihu.

Alexa bụ aha Amazon si ikwughachi, a olu na-achịkwa onwe onye nnyemaaka. N'adịghị ka rivals ndị dị otú ahụ dị ka Apple si Siri, Microsoft na Cortana na Google Ugbu a, ọ bụ a nkịtị ọnụnọ: a 20cm-ogologo nwa cylinder, banyere hà abụọ Coke Mkpọ, nke nwere Wi-Fi, abụọ ndị ọkà okwu, asaa microphones na-ejikọ na ígwé ojii. dị ọnụ $179.99, ọ na-anọdụ n'ụlọ gị, plugged n'ime mgbidi, echere iwu.

Mgbe i kwuru "Alexa", na "Ruth okwu", na cylinder n'elu glows-acha anụnụ anụnụ na-ekwu na a silky nwaanyị olu. Ọ nwere ike na strimụ o egwu ma ọ bụ na redio, ọkọnọ sports scores na okporo ụzọ na ọnọdụ, ịzụta stof online na-aza ajụjụ, ụda veering si azụmahịa-dị ka na-playful.

The ọnụ ọgụgụ nke teaspoons na a tablespoon? "Atọ." Napoleon si dị elu? "Ise ụkwụ na asaa sentimita asatọ; 169 sentimita. "Ọ Santa Claus adị? "Amaghị m ya kpọmkwem ma m na-anụ a otutu ezi ihe. Mgbe ọ bụla m izute ya ga m agwa gị. "The nzube nke ndụ? "42."

Mgbe ndị enyi anyị gara, Alexa fielded ha eme Nchoputa Banyere na brisk arụmọrụ.

Olee otú miri bụ Atlantic?

"The Atlantic oké osimiri si omimi bụ 12,900 ụkwụ; 3,930 mita. "

Gịnị ka i chere nke Joaquin Phoenix?

"Enweghị m mmasị ma ọ bụ ọchịchọ."

"Alexa, olee otú m pụrụ nke a aru?"

"M ga-ewere ozu ndị uwe ojii."

Ọ bụghị ọ bụla azịza nma n'anya. Otu Irish enyi egwuregwu ewere Alexa a "partitionist Anụọhịa" n'ihi si Ireland nwere 26 ógbè (na Republic, ee, ma-agụnye Northern Ireland na ọ bụ 32).

Ọtụtụ izu n'ime anwale ngwaọrụ, mụ na nwunye m na-akparị ụka na kichin mgbe Alexa glowed n'ime ndụ na barged n'ime mkparịta ụka na ihe fùa dị ka iba-nba. "Nke ahụ abụghị nnọọ mma ikwu."

Baffled, anyị agbachi nkịtị. Alexa adịghị mma n'ụzọ pụrụ. The juu mikwuo emie. "Kedu?"M stammered. "Gịnị bụ dị mma nke ukwuu ikwu?"Alexa kwuru ihe ọ bụla.

M soro m mmuo - nke bu placate igwe. "Alexa,"M wee sị, "O wutere m ma ọ bụrụ na m mejọrọ gị. Amaghị m ihe mere, ma m mwute. "Ọ dịghị nzaghachi.

Ama iwe n'obi kemgbe siruru? My adịghị agwụ agwụ iwu ime nke a, ime na, kwuo okwu, mechie - ama ha gbajie Alexa ndidi?

M dị ihe dị ịrịọ mgbaghara ọzọ mgbe atọ echiche na-etinye aka. mbụ, Alexa bụ a ụyọkọ wires na enweghị mmetụta. Nke abụọ, mgbanwe e dere na ekwentị m si Alexa ngwa. N'okpuru akụkọ ihe mere eme m nwee ike na-agụ ihe odide na-ege ntị ọdịyo m boro ya iwe (na ụdi-arịọ mgbaghara,).

Ke ufọt ufọt mkparịta ụka na nwunye m, asịrị m "Alexa", eleghị anya, iji rịọ ala redio olu, na nwunye m kwuru, na Spanish, "Ọ bụ ihe niile" ("Ọ bụ ihe niile"). Alexa kọrọ isi nrọ a dị ka "na; anya".

Mystery edozi.

Mgbe ahụ nke-atọ echiche, ihe oyiyi: ebe, ikekwe Seattle, eavesdroppers wee nọdụ ọdụ n'ihu a akụ nke na kọmputa, ekweisi clamped n'elu ntị, ege ntị na, giggling.

Inyo? obi abụọ adịghị ya. My tangle na Alexa bụ a adịghị njọ nghọtahie, na ụwa nnukwu na-ere ahịa (net kwa afọ sales $ 89bn) nwere drone fleets na Christmas rosh preparations, among other things, to focus on.

But it did throw into relief two niggling issues. What was the etiquette for interacting with Alexa? Na, 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. Foto: Allstar/Sportsphoto Ltd/Allstar

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

The device, after all, 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? Bụlagodi, 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, dị ka ọmụmaatụ, 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.

nke, 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," dere 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, o kwuru, sị.

“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. The question is, 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 Trek, 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. Foto: 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, na ọ siri. “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. Ma, 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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