Voice Assistants for Better or Worse?

We  are all busy giving all sorts of information to these platforms seemingly willingly in exchange for ease of purpose, or the answer to some question. That certainly is the position of these platforms, but as we see in the press (as I alluded to in my ISC West Re-Cap) and the minds of the public, there is a rising tech backlash. We all have to be prepared with an answer to this.

Here is a great article from Forbes: Amazon Admits Listening To Alexa Conversations: Why It Matters

We can also complain about the quality of the voice service and its ease, or lack of it, in its actual job when automating our lives.  But do we also want the inevitable tracking of us as we get served ads for things we have spoken of, or searched for? Do we want these companies to know our daily habits when we have not specifically signed up for that?

There is already anger and reaction to this small revelation about Amazon and Alexa, but this is just scratching the surface. How about that cloud that holds all your video not only helping to secure your home, but recording all that goes on. Do consumers want their lives to be examined?

The truth is that this information is now being stored, and by whom? And with what security?

Everyone claims their systems are secure, but recent history shows that is often not the case. Got hacked in the Experian episode, or the various hotel incidents? The point is that while we all may simply be a piece of this emerging system, we will still be called by the customer when things go wrong. If our names are on the product or service we need to be knowledgeable, concerned and ready to help. Are we?

And when the inevitable lawsuits from breaches emerge, insurers and attorneys will definitely look to every name to pay or subordinate the claims. Are we ready for that? It’s time for each of us to ask what we are doing to secure and manage these systems.

So, should we outsource our solutions for things like voice to Google and Amazon? Perhaps, or maybe we need these solutions also to be embedded in our products or services so we can control and enhance function and improve satisfaction (it’s clear we have a ways to go with voice and artificial intelligence). When we use cloud or other services, we need to ask about their security and what happens when things go wrong as much as admiring the features or cost of the service.

These issues will not go away. As consumers become more aware as more incidents come, and the press focuses more on the topic, they will demand answers and actions. This is a topic of our time.

There are definitely things we can do now. There is and will continue to be rapid evolution in these matters. If you are not sure of the facts on the ground, or if you don’t understand, or if you need help making a plan to deal with these issues then get help and have a conversation. We’re ready to speak with you about these issue sand many others. Let’s get informed and get working.


By: Robert Heiblim, Partner
Follow Robert on Twitter @rheiblim 


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