Today, I saw this tweet about the new Amazon Echo:
An open mic in my house 24/7? I don’t think so. Amazon’s Echo Might Be Its Most Important Product In Years http://t.co/WPgnJVqgxW
— Andrew Collier (@drewcollier) November 8, 2014
Now why do I bring this up? Because iOS now has a similar feature. When your iPhone is plugged in, Siri will listen for, and respond, to the words “Hey Siri”. So, similar to the idea behind the Echo, when I’m home with my phone plugged in, I can simply say, “Hey Siri, what’s the weather for tomorrow?” and get a response.
The problem, of course, is that your phone is an open mic, all the time, and we have to trust that Apple, or Amazon is only activating the listening device when the correct magic words are said, and not doing any sort of recording or other kinds of eavesdropping on their behalf, or on the behalf of the government. I’m not so sure I feel comfortable with that.
Of course, there’s also the fact that we are depending on it only responding when the magic words are said. This week, I discovered the hard way that the “Hey Siri” option might not be quite that accurate, as I was teaching an online course, talking into my headset as you do when teaching. Suddenly, my iPhone, which was plugged in behind me in the office, starting responding to me and searching for information. Whoops! I don’t know what I said, but I definitely did not say anything about Siri. 😉