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Thread: Amazon launches Alexa for Windows 10 PCs

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    Amazon launches Alexa for Windows 10 PCs

    Available in UK, US, and Germany, the app doesn’t support hands-free mode on many PCs.
    Read more.

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    Re: Amazon launches Alexa for Windows 10 PCs

    Saracen... all your dreams have come true

    Quote Originally Posted by Advice Trinity by Knoxville
    "The second you aren't paying attention to the tool you're using, it will take your fingers from you. It does not know sympathy." |
    "If you don't gaffer it, it will gaffer you" | "Belt and braces"

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    Re: Amazon launches Alexa for Windows 10 PCs

    just as long as they don't make it essential part of using the website. My echo no longer echos. It is unplugged, never to be connected again. Maybe or maybe not in pieces after meeting a hammer.

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    Re: Amazon launches Alexa for Windows 10 PCs

    Quote Originally Posted by ik9000 View Post
    just as long as they don't make it essential part of using the website. My echo no longer echos. It is unplugged, never to be connected again. Maybe or maybe not in pieces after meeting a hammer.
    May I ask why? I have a couple of Dots and despite my best efforts to make them spy, they don't appear to be doing so.

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    Re: Amazon launches Alexa for Windows 10 PCs

    Quote Originally Posted by philehidiot View Post
    May I ask why? I have a couple of Dots and despite my best efforts to make them spy, they don't appear to be doing so.
    First, how would, or indeed could you know?

    Second, define "spying".


    Devices like these, be it Echo, Cortana or whatever MUST be listening to everything said and done witjin range in order to work. Oh, sure, you can "mute" them, but then you say "Alexa" and nothing happens.

    To work, they are always listening for the 'trigger', like Alexa. They then send an encrypted sound clip of what was recorded just before, and after, the trigger. That encryption stops nosy 3rd parties intercepting it (in theory, at least) but, by coincidence (or not, depending on your cyncism level) it also stops YOU from knowing exactly what was sent.

    On arriving at Amazon's servers, the clip is decrypted, processed and a response zent back to you device, telling you what time it is, or playing your favourite Atomic Kitten or Jedward track, or whatever.

    But, you may notice that I slipped that "processed" word in there, that is fundamental to Echo (etc) doing what they are designed to do. So precisely what does "processing" consist of? Doing enough to send your response, certainly, but given big corporation's penchant for gathering every last byte of data on us that they can, from your Google history to your phone's contacts to GPS data, do you really, really think they're going to ignore the chance to data warehouse analytics of your Echo commands? Really?

    Do they store your voice clips? I don't know, but I doubt it. Do they store any data they consider relevant extracted from your usage? Again, I don't know but I'd be stunned ifcthey didn't?

    Do you care? Presumably not.

    So, are they spying? In the sense that they're recording and listening to yiu farting while you watch Big Brother re-retuns? Very doubtful. But in the sense that they record what you asked about? Almost certainly.

    But given that any such anslysis and/or recording is done on Amazon servers, as part of stsndard functioning, how could you possibly notice if they're doing it, let alone what they're doing?


    Then, we csn slip into tinfoil hat territory.

    Suppose I'm the Director of the CIA, or worse, NSA, and I tell my tech teams "Intercept all Echo data", store and decrypt it" do you feel certain that they couldn't either intercept net traffic (I'd bet my left nut they can, and do where they want to) and/or decrypt it?

    Or that they couldn't remote-enable that microphone, at will, trigger-word or not?

    Unfortunately, I'm not the director of either, so I don't know either. But, what about Chinese intelligence? Russian? Or a number of other state agencies or any one of a host of criminal hacking groups.


    What makes you think that if some form of spying is going on, you coukd possibky notice?


    One thing, and pretty much only one thing, is certain .... if you don't have one, it isn't being used to sp.... let's call it 'data-gather' on you, thst being a less loaded term. But if you do, you cannot know what's being done with it, even if it operates 100% as intended, let alone if it doesn't.

    You may, of course, not care. But if so, that just means you don't care if it's "spying" on you, not that it isn't or that you could know if it is.

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    Re: Amazon launches Alexa for Windows 10 PCs

    Quote Originally Posted by Zak33 View Post
    Saracen... all your dreams have come true
    Ha. Actually, I don't care. I'm never likely to use either, so it really doesn't bother me.

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    Re: Amazon launches Alexa for Windows 10 PCs

    What Saracen said!!

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    Re: Amazon launches Alexa for Windows 10 PCs

    Microsoft and Amazon announced that they were going to get the two AI Assistants to talk to each other
    So a pair of AIs sat on my PC just having a chinwag and gossiping 24/7?
    How much RAM is this gonna take up?

    Having seen how little gets done when all teh checkout girls are talking to each other, I assume this is how MS-Google will bring the world to its knees!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Zak33 View Post
    Saracen... all your dreams have come true
    Alexa for Windows 10... I believe Saracen is still using QDOS!!


    the app doesn’t support hands-free mode on many PCs.
    Then all my dreams won't be coming true, either....... and since I don't fancy getting banned for lewdity, please read into that as much innuendo as you can fathom!!

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    Re: Amazon launches Alexa for Windows 10 PCs

    I already got 2 Echo Dots at home, that I mostly use to control the lights. I live alone and rarely "talk" to myself lol. So I think I will give it a try.
    If hands-free happens to work in my PC, I can move the Dot in that room to another location.

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    Re: Amazon launches Alexa for Windows 10 PCs

    I'm too tired to respond in full, I'll probably do that later if I remember.

    I tested it in my own special way assuming that if they were spying it would be for profit and as a result would result in advertising. I therefore fed it known inputs and watched to see if there was any result. I STILL haven't been offered Mien Kampf on Amazon. I've noticed more surprising
    offers being thrown at me as a result of ultrasonic beacons.

    I am tempted to position the Dots in the toilets so they can enjoy the sound of my pre and post "Alexa, play..." farts, piddles and plops.

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    Re: Amazon launches Alexa for Windows 10 PCs

    A lot of the uses of warehoused data aren't that obvious, or that overt. Or that immediate. A lot, for example, can be done by inference. So, examination of millions of records (by software) shows a very strong correlation between factors x1, x2, x3, x4 and x5 suggesting a very high probability that where those factors combine, there is a 95%+ chance that that person uses or buys Product A or Service B.

    So when a seller of Product A or Service B comes along, in 6 or 18 months time wanting 10,000 likely prospects for A or B, well, .... whirrr, whirrr, ka-ching, out pops your records abdxyou start getting advertising for it even if you'd never asked about it. But if that supplier wasn't doing a promotion in your area, you'd never get that particular advert.

    And that is a truly simplistic example. The beauty, or danger depending on your perspective, is tbat all this data means that data analytics can infer things about you that even you didn't know yourself, because it can see trends and correlations only visible in massed data.

    So what if that "analysis" shows a 95% correlation between those 5 factors and a 20% above average rate of car insurance claims? Your premiums go up and you'll never know why. It might be that those 5 factors imply an interest in extreme sports and you suddenly can't get life or travel insurance .... even if you are among the 5% exception group for that factors that, actually, have no interest in sports, extreme or otherwise.

    If these seem fanciful, believe me, they either will be happening, or similar things already are.

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    Re: Amazon launches Alexa for Windows 10 PCs

    When I visit friends houses I ask them to turn off their always listening devices if they own. If my voice really can be used as a password and thus is unique I don't really care for big tech using it to track me.

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    Re: Amazon launches Alexa for Windows 10 PCs

    Quote Originally Posted by jibjab View Post
    When I visit friends houses I ask them to turn off their always listening devices if they own. If my voice really can be used as a password and thus is unique I don't really care for big tech using it to track me.
    I prefer the xkcd approach https://xkcd.com/1807/

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    Re: Amazon launches Alexa for Windows 10 PCs

    Quote Originally Posted by spacein_vader View Post
    I prefer the xkcd approach https://xkcd.com/1807/
    Love it.

    Good way to lose friends though.

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    Re: Amazon launches Alexa for Windows 10 PCs

    Quote Originally Posted by Saracen View Post
    Love it.

    Good way to lose friends though.
    Depends how much they like creamed corn

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    Re: Amazon launches Alexa for Windows 10 PCs

    Quote Originally Posted by Saracen View Post
    A lot of the uses of warehoused data aren't that obvious, or that overt. Or that immediate. A lot, for example, can be done by inference. So, examination of millions of records (by software) shows a very strong correlation between factors x1, x2, x3, x4 and x5 suggesting a very high probability that where those factors combine, there is a 95%+ chance that that person uses or buys Product A or Service B.

    So when a seller of Product A or Service B comes along, in 6 or 18 months time wanting 10,000 likely prospects for A or B, well, .... whirrr, whirrr, ka-ching, out pops your records abdxyou start getting advertising for it even if you'd never asked about it. But if that supplier wasn't doing a promotion in your area, you'd never get that particular advert.

    And that is a truly simplistic example. The beauty, or danger depending on your perspective, is tbat all this data means that data analytics can infer things about you that even you didn't know yourself, because it can see trends and correlations only visible in massed data.

    So what if that "analysis" shows a 95% correlation between those 5 factors and a 20% above average rate of car insurance claims? Your premiums go up and you'll never know why. It might be that those 5 factors imply an interest in extreme sports and you suddenly can't get life or travel insurance .... even if you are among the 5% exception group for that factors that, actually, have no interest in sports, extreme or otherwise.

    If these seem fanciful, believe me, they either will be happening, or similar things already are.
    The car insurance example definitely is true. I happened to be in an area where the postcode, type of vehicle and something else correlated to imply a high risk. None of them on their own were particularly unusual but I was told it was people with these three combined traits have had more than the baseline number of fault accidents and so my insurance would be higher. This was quite a few years ago and I expect insurance companies are the kind of people buying a lot of Farcebook and Twa..... Twitter data.

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