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Thread: Amazon Alexa can be summoned by voice on all Windows 10 PCs

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    Amazon Alexa can be summoned by voice on all Windows 10 PCs

    Meanwhile, Microsoft's Cortana has been enhanced with new conversational AI tech.
    Read more.

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    Re: Amazon Alexa can be summoned by voice on all Windows 10 PCs

    Quote Originally Posted by HEXUS
    Amazon Alexa can be summoned by voice on all Windows 10 PCs
    Not on mine, not had a microphone for years.

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    Re: Amazon Alexa can be summoned by voice on all Windows 10 PCs

    I just don't understand why youi'd want to have something listening to everything you say in your home. My life, my business not amazons or googles or who ever they decide to sell that information to.

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    Re: Amazon Alexa can be summoned by voice on all Windows 10 PCs

    Meanwhile, Microsoft's Cortana has been enhanced with new conversational AI tech. ....
    Well, that's an interesting use of the word "enhanced". Maybe they can enhance it back to the stone age.

    To put that another way, Microsoft, please take Cortana (with or without, but especially when with "conversational AI") and use it as a suppository.

    This is why (or one reason why at least) I detest MS installing "upgrades" whenever they want. If I used W10 (and thus type of thing is a big part of why I don't) I don't want to spend half my life trying to neuter MS's "enhancements".

    Convsersational AI?

    No, MS, no, no, no and again, NO.

    Gottit?

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    Re: Amazon Alexa can be summoned by voice on all Windows 10 PCs

    Quote Originally Posted by Gh0sty View Post
    I just don't understand why youi'd want to have something listening to everything you say in your home. My life, my business not amazons or googles or who ever they decide to sell that information to.
    i live alone and don't talk to myself, so the only thing it's hearing me say is to do stuff like turn the lights on/off or dim or change colour, or play music, tell the time in the middle of the night when i'm lying in bed in the dark, turn the fan on/off, etc. eventually i'll get it to be able to do similar things with my heating

    imagine how much these things could benefit a disabled person who had limited mobility or was blind. just think about people other than yourself and what they may do or want to do. if you were some kind of criminal plotting crimes you've probably seen goodfella's and heeded some of the warnings so wouldn't have such a thing recording your criminal intentions, but that's a fairly limited number of the population. step on the streets and there's cctv recording you on a fair percentage of public streets, especially in the city. over time people get used to it and used to the hang ups

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    Re: Amazon Alexa can be summoned by voice on all Windows 10 PCs

    Quote Originally Posted by Unique View Post
    i live alone and don't talk to myself, so the only thing it's hearing me say is to do stuff like turn the lights on/off or dim or change colour, or play music, tell the time in the middle of the night when i'm lying in bed in the dark, turn the fan on/off, etc. eventually i'll get it to be able to do similar things with my heating

    imagine how much these things could benefit a disabled person who had limited mobility or was blind. just think about people other than yourself and what they may do or want to do. if you were some kind of criminal plotting crimes you've probably seen goodfella's and heeded some of the warnings so wouldn't have such a thing recording your criminal intentions, but that's a fairly limited number of the population. step on the streets and there's cctv recording you on a fair percentage of public streets, especially in the city. over time people get used to it and used to the hang ups
    Their point is we don't want it FORCED upon us. Make it optional and we would have no complaint. I say we as I agree with them. Not on win10 for my main machine and it won't get it.

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    Re: Amazon Alexa can be summoned by voice on all Windows 10 PCs

    Quote Originally Posted by Unique View Post
    i live alone and don't talk to myself, so the only thing it's hearing me say is to do stuff like turn the lights on/off or dim or change colour, or play music, tell the time in the middle of the night when i'm lying in bed in the dark, turn the fan on/off, etc. eventually i'll get it to be able to do similar things with my heating

    imagine how much these things could benefit a disabled person who had limited mobility or was blind. just think about people other than yourself and what they may do or want to do. if you were some kind of criminal plotting crimes you've probably seen goodfella's and heeded some of the warnings so wouldn't have such a thing recording your criminal intentions, but that's a fairly limited number of the population. step on the streets and there's cctv recording you on a fair percentage of public streets, especially in the city. over time people get used to it and used to the hang ups
    Some good points there but ....

    1) as atemporal said, not forced upon us. Which it is if MS build it in and use Cortana to drive it. It then puts the onus on us to disconnect microphones, and/or completely disable Cortana.

    And by completely, I mean completely, totally and irreversibly (except by the user) turn it off.

    As for Echo, etc, that's simple enough go opt out off. Don't buy one. Or, if like you, you want the benefits and will put up with the intrusion, you do buy one .... or more.

    The point is .... that is your and my decision. But for most people, their PC/laptop comes with W10 already installed (and, by the way, paid-for in the purchase price) and then along come MS with their "enhancement", which is retrofitted by forced update, whether the user wants it or not.

    This is exactly the kind of thing I've been going on about since W10 came iyt with mandatory updates.

    Mandatory bug-fixes without final user approval are bad enough, when they have a potential to (and history of) completely borking some user's machines, but this kind of "feature" enhancement, without user consent, is as far as I'm concerned, and utter travesty and totally out of order.

    2) You live alone, and want the convenience. I don't live alone, and don't want the intrusion on my privacy of someone sticking cameras or microphones in my home, especially when their standard functioning is 'always on', and transmitting we-don't-know-what data back to Google, Amazon, MS, or whoever.

    As for criminals, I utterly don't care. If they're stupid enough to get caught by saying somethinf in range of there home spies, great. They deserve it.

    I'm not a criminal, or terrorist, or antthing like buy my privacy, in my own home is of paramount importance to me.

    So .... you're up for being snooped on? Fair enough. Your choice. I sure don't have a problem wwith you or anyone else, using Echo etc if you want to. But it woukd be nice, polite, considerare, etc, if MS ciuld get it through their incrediblt thick skulls that not every wants this

    The solution is actually rather simple ..... give us the choice.

    Personally, there are NO circumstances under which I want the functionality of Cortana, even without "conversational AI".

    What I do want, if I was ever to reconsider Win10, is to be in control of such "feature" upgrades. Give us a quick, easy to use and comprehensive privacy control panel where I csn disable all this crud, and lock it so that even MS cannot decide to alter my setings in an update, or install new snoopware.

    That's all I expect. That MS respect our wishes, whether we want to have this stuff foisted on us or not.

    You want it? Fine, accept an install option, or turn privacy control down.

    But I don't, and don't want to spend half my lufe trying to track down obscure, and often registry-based, ways to turn off MS's latest brainwave.

    As I've said so many times before, Microsoft, my computers belong to me, not you, so stop installing stuff I object to, without my consent. You (MS) wouldn't like it if I decided to install what software I decided you wanted on your servers or workstations, would you? You'd consider it hacking and call the FBI. So why do you think it's okay for you to do it to users, whether they want it or not?

    Hypocrits.

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    Re: Amazon Alexa can be summoned by voice on all Windows 10 PCs

    Quote Originally Posted by atemporal View Post
    Their point is we don't want it FORCED upon us. Make it optional and we would have no complaint. I say we as I agree with them. Not on win10 for my main machine and it won't get it.
    it's not forced. you don't need to use a pc, you don't need to use windows 10, you don't need to have a mic or camera or alexa, etc etc etc. unless i plug a mic or camera into my desktop it can't hear. you can disable the mic or cover the camera on a laptop. you can disable all sorts of stuff on the various versions of windows over the years. i'm not sure that was the point the other poster was trying to make though

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    Re: Amazon Alexa can be summoned by voice on all Windows 10 PCs

    Quote Originally Posted by Unique View Post
    it's not forced. you don't need to use a pc, you don't need to use windows 10, you don't need to have a mic or camera or alexa, etc etc etc. unless i plug a mic or camera into my desktop it can't hear. you can disable the mic or cover the camera on a laptop. you can disable all sorts of stuff on the various versions of windows over the years. i'm not sure that was the point the other poster was trying to make though
    that is laughable in the current age. How much banking, legal sign-up to bills accounts, utilities, even registering to get your bins emptied REQUIRES online access. And for most people the use of MS software is assumed. It's a quasi monopoly position only not going challenged because people (incorrectly) advise that apple and linux are direct equivalents. For the majority of people they aren't. Apple are too expensive for people on a budget and for the average person linux is too daunting. MS IMO are exploiting their position in doing this. the option to not have a PC is a joke. In the past few months without it I would not:
    • have been able to book a flight (the local flight centre has been closed)
    • have been able to register to vote - has to be filled in online.
    • have been able to book getting a water meter installed
    • have been able to access my mortgage account (which the bank demands is online only - it was not optional)
    • submit my business expenses
    • download support documents for some business equipment - again only supplied electronically
    • do my business which requires certain windows software to run.
    The day the problem CAD-CAM and photorendering software is available on linux is the day windows goes in the bin.

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    Re: Amazon Alexa can be summoned by voice on all Windows 10 PCs

    Quote Originally Posted by atemporal View Post
    that is laughable in the current age. How much banking, legal sign-up to bills accounts, utilities, even registering to get your bins emptied REQUIRES online access. And for most people the use of MS software is assumed. It's a quasi monopoly position only not going challenged because people (incorrectly) advise that apple and linux are direct equivalents. For the majority of people they aren't. Apple are too expensive for people on a budget and for the average person linux is too daunting. MS IMO are exploiting their position in doing this. the option to not have a PC is a joke. In the past few months without it I would not:
    • have been able to book a flight (the local flight centre has been closed)
    • have been able to register to vote - has to be filled in online.
    • have been able to book getting a water meter installed
    • have been able to access my mortgage account (which the bank demands is online only - it was not optional)
    • submit my business expenses
    • download support documents for some business equipment - again only supplied electronically
    • do my business which requires certain windows software to run.
    The day the problem CAD-CAM and photorendering software is available on linux is the day windows goes in the bin.
    people can do most if not all of those things without using windows at all, nevermind windows 10. you can do a lot of that stuff on a smartphone or android tablet or ipad for example

    as for apple being expensive, i've seen apple mac minis for £40 refurbished within the last few days. you can get iphones second hand fairly cheaply too. you can get brand new tablets from amazon for £30 when they have deals on, and even pay them up over a few months

    as for assumptions, well i you know what they say about them. you are literally making assumptions in your post about other people

    i don't use online banking at all, and i have facilities with a few banks. i rarely go in a bank or even use an ATM, i avoid going inside a bank where possible. i use phone banking if i need it and get statements for mortgage and accounts posted to me. i don't need the internet for my bins, voting gives me non online options, i don't even need to vote if i don't want to, it's a choice. you don't need to book flights, that's a choice, you can go to a travel agent if you did, i've never booked a water meter in my life, so it's far from a regular occurrance, you don't need to run a business nor submit business expenses necesarily, those are choices you've made. don't know what you do but it sounds like you have choices in regards to the operating system being used if you are the owner, so you could use something other than windows 10, or use win 10 without alexa

    it's just choices, choices choices. just think openly and think about alternatives. you don't need to use alexa if you don't want to, it's your choice

    maybe i've missed it, but i didn't notice anyone mentioning cortana which was window 10's built in assistant that could listen to you and, well i've never used the voice commands and don't know anyone else that does as it wasn't exactly a big success, unlike alexa which seems to be the most successful version. apple too has siri, but i rarely used that either

    the thing about alexa and cortana is you don't need to talk to it, you can type commands instead. that's the only way i've used cortana, but alexa use is primarily voiced based and it's been pretty good. not perfect as sometimes i get sports results instead of spots (lights) turning on, but i suppose i could rename the lights to something else or pronounce my words more clearly, or use a button

    remember there are plenty of old people who aren't computer literate and prefer to do things differently, but when things like alexa are set up for them, they can use it to their advantage, by just talking. if you don't want to do it, no one is forcing you. personally i prefer to try things out for myself before casting judgement. sometimes you may actually like things

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    Re: Amazon Alexa can be summoned by voice on all Windows 10 PCs

    Quote Originally Posted by Unique View Post

    maybe i've missed it, but i didn't notice anyone mentioning cortana which was window 10's built in assistant that could listen to you and, well i've never used the voice commands and don't know anyone else that does as it wasn't exactly a big success, unlike alexa which seems to be the most successful version. apple too has siri, but i rarely used that either

    the thing about alexa and cortana is you don't need to talk to it, you can type commands instead.
    I've only skim read the thread but I think Saracen did mention Cortana more than once. Having had this conversation before in another thread I'm fairly confident to say that both Saracen and myself, and from above it sounds like others too, share a loathing for having software built into the OS that actively listens to you. Be that literally listening audibly or monitoring your activity, typing, etc. All of which cortana does. You see this as a good thing clearly. I see it as snooping and not a feature I want, need, or asked for. I agree with previous posts that we should be able to turn it off. It isn't necessary for the core use of a PC. It might enhance things in certain cases, but the user should be able to CHOOSE whether to have those. Even at a basic level it bloats the system and gobbles resource unecessarily.

    As for whether win10 is a choice? I can't say I've felt I had a choice for some time now and am clinging to win7 for as long as possible so long as security roll outs continue. You can do some things with a phone but it is still a gimped experience vs a desktop. Not everyone has a smartphone or wants to pay hundreds for the "privilege." Call me old fashioned but I do like a dumb phone to, you know, speak to people. That being the point of a phone. And the battery lasts ages. I'm not sure my work would let me not have a computer at home either. And that, in my case, has to be windows based IIRC. It's been a while since I had an in-depth chat with IT.

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    Re: Amazon Alexa can be summoned by voice on all Windows 10 PCs

    Quote Originally Posted by ik9000 View Post
    I've only skim read the thread but I think Saracen did mention Cortana more than once. Having had this conversation before in another thread I'm fairly confident to say that both Saracen and myself, and from above it sounds like others too, share a loathing for having software built into the OS that actively listens to you. Be that literally listening audibly or monitoring your activity, typing, etc. All of which cortana does. You see this as a good thing clearly. I see it as snooping and not a feature I want, need, or asked for. I agree with previous posts that we should be able to turn it off. It isn't necessary for the core use of a PC. It might enhance things in certain cases, but the user should be able to CHOOSE whether to have those. Even at a basic level it bloats the system and gobbles resource unecessarily.

    As for whether win10 is a choice? I can't say I've felt I had a choice for some time now and am clinging to win7 for as long as possible so long as security roll outs continue. You can do some things with a phone but it is still a gimped experience vs a desktop. Not everyone has a smartphone or wants to pay hundreds for the "privilege." Call me old fashioned but I do like a dumb phone to, you know, speak to people. That being the point of a phone. And the battery lasts ages. I'm not sure my work would let me not have a computer at home either. And that, in my case, has to be windows based IIRC. It's been a while since I had an in-depth chat with IT.
    i didn't say it was a good thing or a bad thing as that's subjective. as for smartphones costing hundreds, i have one that was bought brand new from a retailer and cost £10.99 with a months worth of service on a prepaid sim. if you don't want a smart phone, from your own choice you don't need to buy one. it's your choice what to buy and use. what you think the point of a phone is and what others may think are many different things. i rarely use my iphone to talk to humans. i mainly use it for other reasons, such as reading news or communicating with people across the world by written/typed words

    as for your work not letting you not have a pc at home, again you choose to apply for that job, you choose to accept the job offered when successful in your application and you choose to continue to do the job when you could resign and stop doing it at any time. there's a huge amount of choices available to people who sometimes don't realise they are there. don't like something, you can stop or change most things. you could go live off the grid with no electricity or computers or internet if you really wanted to. it's your choice

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    Re: Amazon Alexa can be summoned by voice on all Windows 10 PCs

    Quote Originally Posted by Unique View Post
    i didn't say it was a good thing or a bad thing as that's subjective. as for smartphones costing hundreds, i have one that was bought brand new from a retailer and cost £10.99 with a months worth of service on a prepaid sim. if you don't want a smart phone, from your own choice you don't need to buy one. it's your choice what to buy and use. what you think the point of a phone is and what others may think are many different things. i rarely use my iphone to talk to humans. i mainly use it for other reasons, such as reading news or communicating with people across the world by written/typed words

    as for your work not letting you not have a pc at home, again you choose to apply for that job, you choose to accept the job offered when successful in your application and you choose to continue to do the job when you could resign and stop doing it at any time. there's a huge amount of choices available to people who sometimes don't realise they are there. don't like something, you can stop or change most things. you could go live off the grid with no electricity or computers or internet if you really wanted to. it's your choice
    Ah, yes the boiled-down illogic of the "choice" that isn't really. Like it's my choice to commute by a certain well-hated rail operator when I have no actual choice but to use them as they have a monopoly on the line and I do actually have to travel into London each day. I could change job, but to what? My skill set is pretty well fixed by now and unless I want to go default on my mortgage (and then end up paying more in rent than my current repayments) retraining isn't a sensible option this far in. The jobs for me are (for now and the forseeable future) all in the centre for my line of work and thus I have no choice. It's too far to cycle, takes too long to drive (and is getting harder and more costly with all the central zone "improvements" they are making), I can't afford a helicopter and the giant eagles so far haven't responded to my calls irrespective of which ring I wear around my neck. I have to attend both my office and the sites we serve. It's the problem with being specialised. You can't move the sites elsewhere. Well i suppose some idiot could try and build them elsewhere but people tend to want to commute to and be based where the jobs are so that limits where things get built. I could go and live in a cave as a hermit, but it is the modern world and we tend to need to be employed, and I intend to stay in a line of work that won't be being done by a robot in 5 years time. I wouldn't qualify for benefits and the amount of unemployment in the area shows that other jobs are not guaranteed. so, long term survival and all that, it's not a choice.

    Your stance is an interesting one. I get your point, in theory, but I'm afraid IMO you're being too blinkered. Are you a young politics student by any chance? You remind me of someone I knew at university who seemed to thrive on those sort of views. Next you'll be saying that we could choose to not have electricity. Sure, we could, but it would be a rather pointless choice. And try persuading social services that one is fit to keep one's children in that sort of condition. You won't get custody. Choice? Really? Are you sure?

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    Re: Amazon Alexa can be summoned by voice on all Windows 10 PCs

    Quote Originally Posted by Unique
    ....

    maybe i've missed it, but i didn't notice anyone mentioning cortana which was window 10's built in assistant that could listen to you and, well i've never used the voice commands and don't know anyone else that does as it wasn't exactly a big success, unlike alexa which seems to be the most successful version. apple too has siri, but i rarely used that either

    the thing about alexa and cortana is you don't need to talk to it, you can type commands instead. that's the only way i've used cortana, but alexa use is primarily voiced based and it's been pretty good. not perfect as sometimes i get sports results instead of spots (lights) turning on, but i suppose i could rename the lights to something else or pronounce my words more clearly, or use a button

    remember there are plenty of old people who aren't computer literate and prefer to do things differently, but when things like alexa are set up for them, they can use it to their advantage, by just talking. if you don't want to do it, no one is forcing you. personally i prefer to try things out for myself before casting judgement. sometimes you may actually like things
    Ummm, I mean this in the politest possible way and not in a snarky, sarcastic way but .... you do realise this entire thread is about Cortana, yes? It's not about Alexa, but about adding such "conversational AI" to Cortana.

    And I certainly mentioned it, more than once.

    It's the core of my objection.

    The specific point is about adding this AI to Cortana, but the more general point is about any company, and not just MS albeit that they are arch-culprits, adding any features to existing hardware (be it PC, phone, tablet, etc) without the user's consent.

    And that has bells on when it is something like a privacy-encroaching "feature" like this.

    I remember pointing out, in threads .ike this when W10 first came out that I objected to several things, and objected sufficiently to go to huge trouble re-organising my home and home-office computing to take mych off it off-net and behind an air-gap, and the rest onto Linux.

    My objection to forced updates was three-fold.

    1) Initiallt at least, little or no control over when updates are done.

    2) The possibility, however unlikely, that the update borks my PC. And, Murphy's Law bejng what it is, that'll happen at the most inconvenient moment.

    3) While mandatory bug-fixes and/or security updates are one thing (subject tocme having control over when), adding or updating product features is entirely another.

    With 3), MS lost my trust, despite having used MS OS products since well before there was a Windows, and being a very early Windows adopter, when they decided to mess about with the Win8 Start button (and the way it functioned). I have my PCs set up in a way that suits me, and has done for a long time (which includes nested Start menus) and I declined Win8 because I wasn't prepared to change that jyst because MS wanted me to.

    And yes, I know there are other ways to do it, but my method suits me.

    When Win10 came along as the "last" version of Windows, because from now on, "upgrades" will be slip-streamed, and installed whether we want them or not, in mandatory updates, THAT was a large step too far precisely because it puts thr decision about the functionality of my PC into Microsoft's hands andcthe W8 Start fiasco demonstrated they aren't to be trusted with it.

    The ONLY thing I expect, no, require, from MS is that they respect that my PCs are MINE, not theirs. And that implies that they ASK before installing stuff, and don't go about foisting unwanted and frankly utterly unacceptable "features" at their whim.

    All they have to do is ASK.

    If people want the "convenience" of Alexa-type features in Cortana, fine, say yes. But I don't want any form of Cortana, never mind one that's always snoopi .... sorrry, listening, in my home.

    So ask, already!

  18. #15
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    Re: Amazon Alexa can be summoned by voice on all Windows 10 PCs

    It's amusing to read all this talk of being allowed to CHOOSE whether you can disable/remove/turn off Alexa and Cortana... and yet many on here would just outright burn every RGB peripheral, accessory and feature rather than take the already-included option of disabling/turning off the lights...
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    I just wanted something more substantial to my argument than "Tasky's Spidey Senses say so"...
    Quote Originally Posted by ik9000 View Post
    And yet, so often such an inkling is proven correct.

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    Re: Amazon Alexa can be summoned by voice on all Windows 10 PCs

    I wouldn't burn RGB accessories, but I would and do disable (with wirecutters, if necessary, like on one of my cases) unnecesary, non-functional lights and I certainly dont want to pay for them as "standard" in order to cut wires. Mobo lights, and even drive activity lights, do have a function abdcthe RGB sequence on my mobo gives error conditions. They're fair enough, and you can't see them from outside anyway.

    But if other people want their PCs glowing, fair enough. It's no problem to me.

    The other thing I don't like is PC side side panels with windows. That, I'd pay to have a solid side.

    OS options are a bit differentvto hardware, though.

    To have RGB and non-RGB options means two stock lines, as does window panel versus solid. Put both option together and now there's four variants, four stock lines to carry.

    But with an OS, what's the excuse for not giving users the ability to opt-out, or better yet, opt-in. But whatever the default, there's no excuse for retrofitting my PC with snooping capability without asking.

    It's a bit like your car or bike manufacturer coming along a year after you bought it and fitting a limiter stopping it going over 60mph, or tracking all your bank and credit card purchses because you bought their car/bike. It is no longer their car/bike, and in MS's case, it never was their PC.

    It's just ....,presumtuous. Arrogant. And obnoxious.

    And this particular bit of presumption says they either are too stupid to have learned from previous feedback or, more likely, don't give a .....,I mean, don't care.

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