Author Topic: Alexa, bring me a Festool...  (Read 16407 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Gregor

  • Posts: 1731
Re: Alexa, bring me a Festool...
« Reply #30 on: November 17, 2019, 08:20 AM »
To put
I dont understand what the fears are of Amazon listening all the time.
At the most they will sell you more stuff you dont need.
into perspective, these two sentences are logically equivalent with

I don't understand how it works and I don't care about someone being able to make me act against my own interests.

Does someone here really believe any someone, when already able to make you buy stuff you don't need, would stop there?
« Last Edit: November 17, 2019, 10:04 AM by Gregor »

Offline vkumar

  • Posts: 513
Re: Alexa, bring me a Festool...
« Reply #31 on: November 17, 2019, 01:12 PM »
Just for the record Amazon is not in the business of selling page views to anyone unlike Google or facebook or most other free to view websites.
You have your opinion and I have mine, no need to be condescending.
Vijay Kumar

Offline Alex

  • Posts: 6623
Re: Alexa, bring me a Festool...
« Reply #32 on: November 17, 2019, 01:39 PM »
Amazon, started with books, now sells almost everything. I would not be suprised if the next things you find are a rocket to Mars, a battlecruiser, and your life story.

Offline Jesse Cloud

  • Posts: 1749
  • Festooling at the end of a dirt road in New Mexico
Re: Alexa, bring me a Festool...
« Reply #33 on: November 17, 2019, 01:43 PM »
I did an experiment with Alexa's listening behavior and the consequence.  For about a week I would say something like "I need a new drill" or "I wish I knew where to buy a drill" also "I wonder what a drill costs" a couple of times a day in front of Alexa when it was just in listening mode.  I expected to see ads for drills when I logged on to Amazon or at least an email mentioning a great deal on a drill.  Nothing happened.

Just an anecdote, but I found it interesting.


Offline mwolczko

  • Posts: 50
Re: Alexa, bring me a Festool...
« Reply #34 on: November 17, 2019, 02:55 PM »
I’m hoping that after learning to listen to my planer and table saw Alexa will know when the blade gets dull and tell me to order a new one.

Offline Gregor

  • Posts: 1731
Re: Alexa, bring me a Festool...
« Reply #35 on: November 17, 2019, 03:57 PM »
Just for the record Amazon is not in the business of selling page views to anyone unlike Google or facebook or most other free to view websites.
Amazon (as google and basically everyone else in capitalism) is in the business of parting your from your money, employing whatever means the most effective from a cost/gain consideration as long as these just dosn't cross the line where the owners and/or top-level execs would no longer be able to weasel out of being lined up against a wall for their crimes against humanity. And the current hot thing is big data combined with 'AI' which allows to profile humans in a way that makes their reactions deterministic enough on a statistical scale that the results can be used to selectively influence on an individual basis in a highly predictable way.

We're being subjected to robots that are constantly watching our behaviour, with the goal to figure out how to push what of our buttons to make us behave as intended. And for that technology it's irrelevant if the goal is to push toward buying more (or higher markup) items, to vote for the ones that give the better tax breaks for the peer group of the robot owners (= the super-rich) or to support killing some another several hundred of thousands of humans (aka. the next 'peace'-intervention of $yourcountry).

The problem with that technology is that it works and it works better the more data it was able to digest, the more interactions it was able to observe, the more A/B test it is allowed to run.
Quote
You have your opinion and I have mine, no need to be condescending.
Sorry, intention wasn't to belittle you - I just see the need to point out the implication of what you said in words clear enough to make the problem visible, in the hope that more people realize that not knowing how that stuff works while hoping for the best isn't a good plan to end up in a future that's fun to be in. You shouldn't allow this technology in your life, in case your actually care for it, as this technology isn't made to serve you (but others who perceive you as a resource to be exploited) and is openly aiming at destroying (or at least subverting, as much as possible) your free will*.

YMMV.


*) whatever free will may actually be and regardless of it actually existing - but even in case we as humans would be fully deterministric in regard of our reactions to external stimuli we likely still wouldn't like the idea of someone knowing how to remote-control us.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2019, 04:35 PM by Gregor »

Offline HarveyWildes

  • Posts: 928
Re: Alexa, bring me a Festool...
« Reply #36 on: November 17, 2019, 11:58 PM »
I’m hoping that after learning to listen to my planer and table saw Alexa will know when the blade gets dull and tell me to order a new one.


Why not just get Alexa to install them for you as well?  I don't think I ever installed a set of blades as precisely as the factory - it would have been nice to have expert installation along with shiny new edges.  I'm waiting for the day when it will put a wet-sanded oil finish on my projects for me.  I just can't get my wife to do that - I've tried.


I tried changing the wake-up keyword from "Alexa" to "Computer" so I could sound like Star Trek, but I quickly realized that "computer" is a word we use much too frequently for that to work.

Offline Cypren

  • Posts: 35
Re: Alexa, bring me a Festool...
« Reply #37 on: December 18, 2019, 01:08 PM »
As a preface to what I’m about to say, I’m a novice woodworker, but have been a software engineer for over twenty years; these devices are squarely in my area of expertise.

The Alexa device has two modes of “listening” to you. One of them is indeed always on: this one is controlled by a specialized microprocessor on the device itself and is listening for someone to say “Alexa” (by default) or the keyword you’ve chosen to wake the device. The other mode is listening to what comes after the wake word, sending that to Amazon’s servers, and processing it to understand what you said.

When the device is operating in the first mode, it’s not sending any data to Amazon. This can be (and has been) verified with tools that can monitor all network traffic from it. So fears that it’s listening and recording everything you say are vastly overblown; it’s provably not doing that. (And it’s not in Amazon’s interest to do that; it would be phenomenally expensive compared to the potential value.)

What does happen, however, is that sometimes the onboard processor makes a mistake and thinks you’ve said “Alexa” when you’ve said something else. At that point, it will start transmitting, but the servers on the other end (which are a lot “smarter”) will analyze what you said and discard it as a false alert. In that case, a recording has been sent to Amazon, and they often do keep these for analysis, because it helps the engineers working on the product figure out how to prevent it from happening in the future.

One nice thing about most of the Alexa devices is that they have a blue light-up ring around the top that glows when they’re transmitting to Amazon. If it’s not glowing, what you’re saying isn’t being recorded anywhere.

But with all that said, I have Alexa units all over my house, but not in the bedroom.

Offline Gregor

  • Posts: 1731
Re: Alexa, bring me a Festool...
« Reply #38 on: December 18, 2019, 01:33 PM »
... have been a software engineer for over twenty years; these devices are squarely in my area of expertise.
About the same here.

Quote
... Alexa ...
I agree with the general assessment of the functionality. The technical problem I see is that these are black boxes, with the ability to remote-update, sitting inside your network... which is a no-no for me, always has been, even before this guy. The non-technical problem is these 'smart speakers' (which they arn't, they're in the first place listening devices) leak too much of your life to their corporate masters and given the improvements in big data and deep learning my view is that being predictable to machines isn't what I want, ever. YMMV.

Quote
But with all that said, I have Alexa units all over my house, but not in the bedroom.
Did you skip the bedroom because blue led light is bad for your sleep cycle or are there other reasons?

Offline Cypren

  • Posts: 35
Re: Alexa, bring me a Festool...
« Reply #39 on: December 18, 2019, 04:24 PM »
The technical problem I see is that these are black boxes, with the ability to remote-update, sitting inside your network... which is a no-no for me, always has been, even before this guy.
Fair, but note that if you use a cell phone or laptop that isn't completely open-source, including all hardware, then the same is true. I'm not sure if you're familiar with James Mickens, but I really enjoyed his lecture on computer security, where he describes dividing potential threats into "Mossad" and "not-Mossad". If a technologically advanced nation-state wants to get into your business, they are going to get into your business. There is literally nothing you can do as a private individual to stop them unless you have the resources of Bill Gates and the paranoia to devote a significant chunk of it to ensuring your privacy. (And maybe not even then.) Concerns about firmware being surreptitiously updated to become permanent listening devices fall into this class in my view; that kind of thing can't be done on a widespread scale without being detected, so it's really only a threat if it's done to a single targeted individual.
Quote
The non-technical problem is these 'smart speakers' (which they arn't, they're in the first place listening devices) leak too much of your life to their corporate masters and given the improvements in big data and deep learning my view is that being predictable to machines isn't what I want, ever. YMMV.
Everyone's tolerance for this is going to be different, but I don't think most people are aware of how much information they're already giving away by having a debit or credit card, or using a web browser with Javascript turned on. If you're doing either of these two things, your consumer habits have probably already been modeled to a level far exceeding what an audio tap picking up random conversations could do.

One thing that worries me when people raise privacy concerns is that they often seem to fixate on theoretical, low-risk violations of privacy like smart speakers while completely ignoring the primary vectors that data-harvesting operations actually use to build comprehensive profiles. Sometimes I almost wonder if this isn't the point, a sort of collective sleight-of-hand misdirection trick on the part of corporate America.
Quote
Did you skip the bedroom because blue led light is bad for your sleep cycle or are there other reasons?
I like having one room in the house where I know that whatever I say is going to be private and won't be leaked to someone else, even by accident. And it's not I room I spend a lot of time in while conscious.

Offline Gregor

  • Posts: 1731
Re: Alexa, bring me a Festool...
« Reply #40 on: December 18, 2019, 05:46 PM »
That this kind of devices (alexa & co) gets ubiquitous (together with privacy nightmares like ring, where the devices already aim outside the sphere of the owner). While this sounds benign and the argument that a global firmware update that would turn them evil would certainly be noticed sounds reasonsable at first glance... the problem is that we (as civilization) are installing a turnkey surveilance system that will make every kind of dictatorship invincible - and the next dictatorship will neither care about people noticing that update nor hesitate about pushing it. Take WWII where the US interned anyone remotely looking asian and we germans even fucking gassed and burned people wholesale and industrial style, state backed, nothing to see here, all is well and as it should be, please move on, have a good day.

We should keep that in mind, else we failed to learn from history and are doomed to repeat it.
'Hey $device' IMHO has way too much potential to be abused.
Quote
[whataboutism: cellphonesl, laptops and state actors]
Dosn't help. On the other hand one could argue that google, apple, amazon already have surpassed states... given that states have massive problems collecting fair taxes on the profits made in them by these companies.

I disagree on the misdirection trick though, simply as warren buffet admitted way back what's going on. So it's not misdirection but plain and simple in the open.

Anyway, quite likely YMMV.

Offline Mario Turcot

  • Posts: 1226
Re: Alexa, bring me a Festool...
« Reply #41 on: July 19, 2020, 08:53 PM »
@Bob D. How far apart are your Echo and Echo Dot? Is your shop in a separate building? I looking for a way to turn off the lights in the shop. I often go to bed and notice the lights are still on and have to return back to the shop. My shop is not that far but being able to do it from the home would be nice.
Mario

Offline Bob D.

  • Posts: 1681
Re: Alexa, bring me a Festool...
« Reply #42 on: July 20, 2020, 10:36 PM »
@Bob D. How far apart are your Echo and Echo Dot? Is your shop in a separate building? I looking for a way to turn off the lights in the shop. I often go to bed and notice the lights are still on and have to return back to the shop. My shop is not that far but being able to do it from the home would be nice.

My garage shop is a separate building, but not far from the house. I have a Echo Dot in the shop. The Echo devices connect to your Wi-Fi. For me Wi-Fi out to the shop is OK working off a Wi-Fi extender in the house. I wouldn't try and stream 4K video on it, but it's plenty good enough for Echo, streaming music and controlling stuff in my Home Automation (HA) system with verbal commands thru Alexa. I can use it to chat with someone in the house just like an intercom. I can also use it to chat with my brother in Florida 1200 miles away on his Echo Dot.

You can get wall switches (yes even two-way) that will connect to SmartThings or other HA hubs, then tie the HA system into Alexa (which means installing an Alexa skill in most cases and granting Alexa access to the account) and you're good to go.

I don't trust HA devices to control any power tool or other machinery except for fans. Anything else starting and stopping when you're not in line of sight of the equipment is too risky I think. And there is no one here but my wife, the cat, and myself so no little ones to worry about. You can create scenes that will turn lights on or off all over the house. As an example you could have a scene called "Welcome Home" that turns on your ceiling fan, turns on some lights, reads you todays news highlights, reads you a 'This Day In History' blurb, and turns off the light in the garage. This could all be triggered off your location (GPS tracks your location as home and runs the scene) or by a verbal command from you.

I have mine monitoring the 240V charger for the car. When the car is done charging I get a message on my phone. I could set it up to make an announcement but it's not necessary. I do have a motion sensor that is part of the alarm system that Alexa will announce when there is activity at the back door. I have the motion sensor positioned so it only covers the back porch. If a bird lands on the porch nothing happens but a dog or person would set it off. During the day it just makes an announcement which I created. At a time I specified (15 minutes after sunset) motion will turn on the back porch light for 10 minutes. So when you come home at night the light comes on as you begin to walk up the stairs, and it stays on for 10 minutes.

At 11PM the alarm will turn on automatically and any lights still on in the house will turn off. We are usually asleep long before that but if we forget a light then it gets shut off at 2300 so it doesn't burn all night.

They do make a 240V switch can be used for loads up to 40A. It's intended for equipment like pumps and water heaters, but you could put one inline with a feed to your shop and shut the whole thing down remotely if you wanted to.
-----
It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?

Offline Mario Turcot

  • Posts: 1226
Re: Alexa, bring me a Festool...
« Reply #43 on: July 21, 2020, 11:56 AM »
Thanks Bob for all the details, much appreciated.
Mario