Amazon Echo, terrifying or awesome?

“Inside the flat a fruity voice was reading out a list of figures which had something to do with the production of pig-iron. The voice came from an oblong metal plaque like a dulled mirror which formed part of the surface of the right-hand wall. Winston turned a switch and the voice sank somewhat, though the words were still distinguishable. The instrument (the telescreen, it was called) could be dimmed, but there was no way of shutting it off completely.”

“In general you could not assume that you were much safer in the country than in London. There were no telescreens, of course, but there was always the danger of concealed microphones by which your voice might be picked up and recognized; besides, it was not easy to make a journey by yourself without attracting attention.” -1984, George Orwell

This was posted on the Core77 front page a few days ago…

How do think that this will take? What impact is this going to have on the home? I imagine that these ‘decentralized’ computers will take control of the market. Ever seen the movie “Her”?

Will human nature allow us to truly feel comfortable with talking to computers? If so, how long till it becomes a norm?

I don’t know if I would jump to conspiracy Carl.

We’re worried about this Amazon Echo, but than again, we carry phones that track all of our movements and we know that world governments are collecting our phone and email data. We passed 1984 about 15 years ago and haven’t looked back. We are only missing the worst of the propaganda.

As for the Echo itself, we will look back at this as the key product debut since the iPhone. However, the real power of it will only come as the price comes down.

I agree with you there, I’m not actually calling it a conspiracy. Those two passages just came to mind when I watched the advert.
I’d like to discuss and explore the humanity aspect of it. Simulating a conversation seems pretty difficult and uncomfortable.

(I meant “take control of the market” as in becoming a required/demanded feature in computer products.)

I disagree. Even though it’s technically no different than what we all carry in our pockets, I think people will be turned off by the idea of a device sitting in the corner listening to everything that happens in their house. It feels more insidious, even if it’s not.

Personally, I have zero interest in voice recognition in any form, but even if it worked for me, if I need to know whether Kevin Spacey and David Duchovny were in Working Girl, I’ll just pick up my phone. (They were.)

This has a pretty obvious, although niche market which is the blind community.

I shared a house with a blind person many years ago for about a year and a half. He would have loved this.

I feel like no one I know uses Siri. It might be a Canadian thing though.

Well the immidiate response of anybody here in the office and with tech savy friends was “1984”.
Thy spying of the NSA within our countries borders has brought some sensitivity to this, combined
with what half of the German population had to endure during the cold war this “I-spy” for the home
doesn’t stand a chance over here. But within a society that is wired differently it could work.

Brits and Americans have already gone a long way into the 24/7 trackability of the citizens so I am
really awaiting the international sales figures of “Echo” with interest.


P.S.: I’ve used Siri and the nameless tool on the Samsung for dictations for quiet some time. The results
are improving, but I do only ever dictate things that are potentially harmless to be read by 3rd parties
(industrial espionage). (Call me a tin-hat, if you like.)

No worries Scott. The CIA has your back with the $600 Million deal it made with Amazon for “cloud services”