Friday, 25 May 2018

"Alexa, please stop recording what I say"

"I'm sorry Dave, I can't do that".

Like many, I dreamed of the idea of a computer I can speak to and interact with. But like one of the commenters in the link above, not all of my dreams were intended for broadcast to anyone else.

As a child I imagined technology serving mankind, making life more and more amazing, opening previously unthinkable possibilities and opportunities while solving poverty and health problems. The reality is that technology is primarily designed to make money for enormous corporations and key individuals, using the buyers as the product. Yeah, tinfoil hat time. Mankind does benefit enormously from IT, but like everything people touch, there's always a mix of the clean and the corrupt.

Following up on the 'Stupid dilemma' I had recently, I bought a Chinese brand Xiaomi (apparently pronounced sh ow me) phone. The phone came without the often mandatory Facebook spyware that apparently logs user data even when they have no connection to facebook at all, but did have a lot of their own applications that all wanted access to things they had no business touching (why does the cleaner app need access to my contacts, the ability to send messages and make phone calls etc?).

And then there's the business of acoustic cookies.

I wonder where we'll be in 10 years time, and whether there will be a tension between worldwide energy consumption and cryptocurrency mining? I'm not paranoid (are they out to get me anyway?) but it looks to me like there's a trend and shift in culture going on.

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