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voice assistants: yay or nay?

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voice assistants (eg, apple siri, amazon alexa, google assistant) have been around for a while but have become more popuplar, eg,

https://www.engadget.com/2018/01/14/study-says-1-in-6-americans-has-smart-speaker/


do you own and use a smart speaker (amazon echo, google home, etc)?

do you use the voice assistant on your phone or tablet?

what kinds of tasks do you ask your voice assistant to perform?

do you think it is an essential or important feature that makes your life easier?
 

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I occasionally used it for wolfram alpha purposes like easily finding solutions to equations or doing conversions between measurement systems. I actually find that to be easier than trying to figure things out google. Now I usually have it completely disabled because I don't like accidentally opening it up in my pocket or anything.

I don't see many people use it. One of my friends uses it all the time to set timers on his phone or reminders to do certain things. In that case, I would think it's useful as well. Usually someone will say, "Remind me to do this" to some other person. It seems like actually going into the machine and adding in a reminder is something that takes enough thought that you would have to be reminded to do it, while the natural instinct is to tell someone else to remind you while it's in your mind and on the tip of your tongue.
 

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I don't use a voice assistant, but I wouldn't say that they are unimportant because a lot of people seem to find them efficient.
 

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I got one as a Christmas gift and haven't opened it yet. It seems quite nice but the motivation has yet to arise. Am considering regifting it, though I am not sure who I know that would like it. I suppose I ought to just give it a try.
 

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I use siri every now and then, but typically I much prefer just simply doing whatever it is myself. Usually I'd have to do something else anyhow.

The things I think siri is really good for are quick things it can give a simple answer to like "how many table spoons are in a cup."

I don't see it as a necessity, and though it can be useful on occasions on a smartphone, I don't like the idea at all of the ones sitting in one's house (security things too to some degree).
 
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nay

I don't like to trade certainty for convinience. I find it better to specify things rigorously. Language is often too loose and lacks precision.

I also reject everything that tries to think instead of me - such technologies usually get it wrong. I guess they are designed for the masses and my way of thinking is very peculiar. I may consider using such a technology once they become sophisticated enough.
 

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I like to use a voice assistant while I drive. I plug my phone into my car with the auxiliary cable, and I get to hear it right through my car speakers.

80% of the time it will play the correct song/album I ask for. (The other 20% of the time, I get road rage.) It will read my texts to me, and I can respond to them. It will call people when I need it. It tells me the weather, and I can get directions(if I'm desperate enough to not select the route myself). In the home I can quickly set a cooking timer.

I wouldn't have a home voice assistant because I don't want to yell in my house and disturb the peace. I pull over when I get too infuriated to drive, but what do I do if I get angry at home? Run out of the house? Speaking technology makes me extraordinarily angry in a way that people never could... But I cannot deny its usefulness. Especially to people with visual impairments.
 
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who on earth would want to speak to some strange alien thingy.

A privacy and security nightmare

They all have the capacity to listen in on your conversations at home.

Turn off the microphone on Amazon Echo and Google speakers. There’s a button. It’s not a particularly convenient way to ensure privacy — you will always have to remember to neutralize the assistant — but at least it’s something.
Use Echo’s account settings to prohibit or password-protect purchasing.
Use antivirus protection of PCs, tablets, and smartphones to decrease the risk of data leaks and to keep criminals out.
Change Amazon Echo’s wake word if someone in your household has a name that sounds like “Alexa.” Otherwise any dialogue near the device has the potential to turn into a real nuisance.
Earphones and passive loudspeakers are basically an inside-out microphone. That means every earphone set connected to a PC can detect sound.
Some audio chipsets can change the function of an audio port at the software level. This is not a secret — it is stated in the motherboard specifications.
Hackers Can Talk To Voice Assistants Like Siri And Alexa By Speaking With A Voice You Can't Hear. DolphinAttack translates the command to the ultrasonic sound range, the inaudible command is sent to the user’s device, and the device responds.
 

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The only time I even use voice is if I'm doing homework on my phone, its faster to write using my voice than by typing it on the phone keyboard. I can just read information directly out of my textbook.

I don't use the assistant.
 
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I don't use them but I like having them to mess around with. If you can find one in a language you're studying they're surprisingly good for practice too.

I've got a Japanese one just called Voice Assist and it's just so NICE. I can't even insult it out of boredom. I feel actual guilt for insulting this phone app. Technology is scary.
 
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