Sunday’s New York Times explored coming attractions in digital spyware.
No, not that kind of spyware; the spyware that masquerades as a help-meet, so that persons eagerly welcome it into their homes. Here’s some of the patents that are pending:
In one set of patent applications, Amazon describes how a “voice sniffer algorithm” could be used on an array of devices, like tablets and e-book readers, to analyze audio almost in real time when it hears words like “love,” bought” or “dislike.” A diagram included with the application illustrated how a phone call between two friends could result in one receiving an offer for the San Diego Zoo and the other seeing an ad for a Wine of the Month Club membership.
Some patent applications from Google, which also owns the smart home product maker Nest Labs, describe how audio and visual signals could be used in the context of elaborate smart home setups.
One application details how audio monitoring could help detect that a child is engaging in “mischief” at home by first using speech patterns and pitch to identify a child’s presence, one filing said. A device could then try to sense movement while listening for whispers or silence, and even program a smart speaker to “provide a verbal warning.”
I will note that Google, Amazon, and other vendors of this stuff claim that no so features are currently in use and that their current consumer digital “assistants” speak only when spoken to. Given the tech industry’s spotless record of integrity, I have no doubt that such claims are credib–oh, never mind.
Follow the link, then remind yourself that it’s perfectly okay to get off the couch and turn off the coffee pot on your ownsome.