Smart Assistant & Smart Speaker thread - "Google Assistant just beat the Turing test"

Fed up talking videogames? Why?

Which assistants/speakers do you use?

Google Assistant (Google Home, Sony, Panasonic, Lenovo, Sonos)
11
41%
Alexa (Amazon Echo)
12
44%
Siri (Apple Homepod)
4
15%
Cortana (Microsoft)
0
No votes
Bixby (Samsung)
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 27
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Ironhide
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PostRe: Smart Assistants & Smart Speakers
by Ironhide » Tue May 01, 2018 7:52 pm

I use an Echo dot hooked up to my bookshelf speakers, primarily for music and to turn the lights on/off, my TV supports Alexa voice controls but I haven't got it set up yet.

Its fairly useful for me as it allows me a little more independence to do things I'd normally need someone else to do for me.

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KingK
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PostRe: Smart Assistants & Smart Speakers
by KingK » Tue May 01, 2018 9:21 pm

We use Alexa & Hive in our house. Have had 1 Alexa Echo (tall one) for about a year and have added 3 Dots (ice hockey puck size) since then so we currently have 4.

Alexa is used for many different things in our house:

- boosting hot water and/or heating via Hive
- turning various lights on, off, dim, or increase brightness via Hive with Hive bulbs
- use as an intercom to speak to the kids in another room (we have a large property and it helps immensely in quickly speaking to them)
- asking “what’s my traffic” when getting ready so I know what my commute is looking like
- getting bespoke news, Sport and weather info read out to me
- helping answer obscure questions for the kids on any topic
- recipes, Sport results or fixtures, checking the time, setting timers, reminders and alarms
- setting a morning alarm clock to specific radio stations or artists
- streaming Amazon music either on the Echo/Dot or controlling my Sonos units
- playing some games (Deal or no Deal is the kids favourite at the moment)

Sure, all of the above can be done via other means but Alexa just makes it so easy. I know of people who also use it to control their TV and Sky boxes via Harmony, or even open and close blinds. Multiple things can be set to run on 1 command so for example, “Alexa, Goodnight” could turn multiple lights off in different rooms, turn tv off, read the weather forecast for tomorrow and shut the blinds all at the same time.

Overall, Alexa is a useful tool in our house. No concerns on the privacy aspect from us. Nothing we say is going to be of that much interest to anyone else :slol:

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rinks
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PostRe: Smart Assistants & Smart Speakers
by rinks » Tue May 01, 2018 9:40 pm

+1 for the "screw that privacy invasion".

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Garth
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PostRe: Smart Assistants & Smart Speakers
by Garth » Tue May 01, 2018 10:17 pm

I have a few Echo Dots around the house which I use quite regularly, I address them as "Computer" like in Star Trek 8-) :oops:

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Errkal
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PostRe: Smart Assistants & Smart Speakers
by Errkal » Tue May 01, 2018 10:23 pm

Garth wrote:I have a few Echo Dots around the house which I use quite regularly, I address them as "Computer" like in Star Trek 8-) :oops:

You could say they are dotted about the house.

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Errkal
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PostRe: Smart Assistants & Smart Speakers
by Errkal » Tue May 01, 2018 10:24 pm

I wanted to have mine set to "computer" but the wife is boring and over ruled it. So now it is just in Alexa because apparently that's not stupid.

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Lagamorph
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PostRe: Smart Assistants & Smart Speakers
by Lagamorph » Tue May 01, 2018 10:31 pm

Wait, you can change what Alexa responds to?

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Garth
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PostRe: Smart Assistants & Smart Speakers
by Garth » Tue May 01, 2018 10:39 pm

Lagamorph wrote:Wait, you can change what Alexa responds to?

Yeah, you can choose between Alexa, Echo, Amazon or Computer.

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Errkal
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PostRe: Smart Assistants & Smart Speakers
by Errkal » Tue May 01, 2018 10:43 pm

There also lots of Easter eggs in there for lols like "Tea, Earl Grey, Hot" or "Open the pod bay doors"

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Lagamorph
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PostRe: Smart Assistants & Smart Speakers
by Lagamorph » Tue May 01, 2018 10:46 pm

I was kind of hoping you could set it to whatever you wanted. Would have changed the one at my parents house to my mum or dads name or something :slol:

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Green Gecko
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PostRe: Smart Assistants & Smart Speakers
by Green Gecko » Wed May 02, 2018 8:26 am

I still don't really get this privacy aspect, or more specifically its wider context in use. Any device with a microphone connected to the Internet can listen to you. Which is all of them. Don't people realise that? All those devices should have privacy policies but apps like for example every android and iPhone and other devices have app permissions that access your microphone. Webpages can be given permission to access your microphone. Skype can access your microphone. Smart speakers listen to a key word locally on the device, then send voice to a server to be translated to text, this is encrypted, and you can delete it whenever you want, at least with Google. It's in the privacy policy. If you don't like that then fair game but what about all the other services?

Just read the privacy policy. Like I say anyone concerned about privacy probably shouldn't use the Internet because they are all hooked up to government back doors and collected vast swathes of information.

Is anyone aware Facebook can literally track your location across photos with an id number even if you aren't in Facebook? How? Because other people are uploading and tagging photos of you. Facebook know who your friends are because they have submitted your personally identifiable mobile number in their contact lists by using the Facebook app or signing into a smartphone with Facebook integration. Which is all of them.

We're way past true privacy I'm afraid.

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lex-man
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PostRe: Smart Assistants & Smart Speakers
by lex-man » Wed May 02, 2018 8:50 am

I just feel that those voice assistances are a step too far, personally. They've ready found that the Amazon Alexa keeps a longer than you would imagine record of everything said in your house, not just the stuff after Alexa. I don't have a microphone attached to my computer on the day to day. Any voice recording through my phone when in my pocket would be muffled anyway and I've turned off the voice assistant features.

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Green Gecko
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PostRe: Smart Assistants & Smart Speakers
by Green Gecko » Wed May 02, 2018 9:03 am

Bummer. Well I read the Google policy and I'm cool with it plus it has a hard switch for the mic so you can just turn it on when you want to use the assistant. So people should be aware as ever and check up on what they are opting into, but I don't think it's all bad especially if it helps the disabled like Ironhide and me too. I've just never found more effective voice recognition and ai, it's possible thanks to cloud computing voice models. You can send as little or as much voice commands as you want, like you can choose to type in a search. In some ways, it makes me more aware of the information I'm sending. I'm not trying to convince anyone as its a very personal matter but I don't think the idea of a microphone with regards to privacy is considered in context.

I don't actually like using a smartphone or any screen and so this actually enables me to reduce my screen time and I no longer switch on my smartphone, I use a Sony Ericsson. If you want a truly private conversation, turn that gooseberry fool off.

The thing about Amazon is they aren't just selling ads you can choose to click on or block, they are selling massive quantities of physical goods too. I think there's more in it for them to be a banana split, especially since you can buy directly from the device. I'm not seeing either is better or worse but you have of think about what the motive is with all these things.

Google actually give you very good controls over your personal info even if they do harvest a tonne of it by wilfully entering it.

The Google assistant doesn't send the keyword or anything other than submitted queries, but I guess that's just a claim you have to trust like any company dealing with your personal data. They actually removed a feature where you could tap the top of the speaker to ask something because people didn't understand it and it was freaking people out. That was a good feature because it can get pretty boring repeating "ok Google" over and over.

I don't think I would fill an entire house with one but for the office it's fine.

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Rax
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PostRe: Smart Assistants & Smart Speakers
by Rax » Wed May 02, 2018 9:08 am

Dont fool yourself, the mic is never off and they do record absolutely everything, privacy policy or not, it is always listening.

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Green Gecko
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PostRe: Smart Assistants & Smart Speakers
by Green Gecko » Wed May 02, 2018 9:09 am

Says who?

Turn it off then. I turn everything off in my rooms when they're not being used. When I'm working in the office, there's nobody to talk to :lol:

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bear
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PostRe: Smart Assistants & Smart Speakers
by bear » Wed May 02, 2018 11:17 am

Green Gecko wrote:They actually removed a feature where you could tap the top of the speaker to ask something because people didn't understand it and it was freaking people out. That was a good feature because it can get pretty boring repeating "ok Google" over and over.



Well that's just plain wrong.
The sensor for the tap to activate feature had a flawed design and some would start recording and sending messages to Google at random. The feature was removed because Google couldn't fix it without having to do a product recall.

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OrangeRKN
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PostRe: Smart Assistants & Smart Speakers
by OrangeRKN » Wed May 02, 2018 11:22 am

Green Gecko wrote:If you are concerned about your privacy, don't use any social media at all and use DuckDuckGo for your search.


B)

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Moggy
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PostRe: Smart Assistants & Smart Speakers
by Moggy » Wed May 02, 2018 11:29 am

Green Gecko wrote:I still don't really get this privacy aspect, or more specifically its wider context in use. Any device with a microphone connected to the Internet can listen to you. Which is all of them. Don't people realise that? All those devices should have privacy policies but apps like for example every android and iPhone and other devices have app permissions that access your microphone. Webpages can be given permission to access your microphone. Skype can access your microphone. Smart speakers listen to a key word locally on the device, then send voice to a server to be translated to text, this is encrypted, and you can delete it whenever you want, at least with Google. It's in the privacy policy. If you don't like that then fair game but what about all the other services?

Just read the privacy policy. Like I say anyone concerned about privacy probably shouldn't use the Internet because they are all hooked up to government back doors and collected vast swathes of information.

Is anyone aware Facebook can literally track your location across photos with an id number even if you aren't in Facebook? How? Because other people are uploading and tagging photos of you. Facebook know who your friends are because they have submitted your personally identifiable mobile number in their contact lists by using the Facebook app or signing into a smartphone with Facebook integration. Which is all of them.

We're way past true privacy I'm afraid.


Yes we know all of that. Thanks for asking. :simper:

That doesn’t mean people want to invite another invasion of privacy into their homes.

I don’t really care about that aspect of it but I can see why people do.

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Lime
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PostRe: Smart Assistants & Smart Speakers
by Lime » Wed May 02, 2018 3:32 pm

I've never quite worked out how to control my PS4 with voice commands, so I just get my partner to randomly shout commands at it 'PlayStation, play disk, start, run disk, go play, play movie'

I join in too, to be fair.

Then I just press on the remote when I've had enough amusement.

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'No.'

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Karl
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PostRe: Smart Assistants & Smart Speakers
by Karl » Wed May 02, 2018 3:40 pm

Rax wrote:Dont fool yourself, the mic is never off and they do record absolutely everything, privacy policy or not, it is always listening.

There's a difference between passively listening and actively recording. Nerds are watching Google et al very closely, if it was sending data about your conversations all the time we would know.

Home assistants are a privacy risk but it's not because it's transmitting every word you say. It's more like, what if Google are able to gather even more contextual information from your queries than they are already*, or what if (in the worst case scenario) your home assistant gets hacked.

* Like, they might want to do "find me pregnancy tests" + panicked voice => advertise abortion clinics, vs. "find me pregnancy tests" + happy voice => advertise baby clothes.


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