For our final assignment we were to develop a vision/ argument on a digital technology using scholarly resources. My chosen technology is Amazon Alexa. I have chosen this as my digital technology because I believe it will be one of the most influential and monumental technologies in our lives. I envision Alexa as a stepping stone to the future smart home. Amazon may continue to recreate Alexa in generations to come or Alexa may be used as an inspiration to progress this Ai technology.
For what’s next with this technology I envision an Ai incorporated home that is completely interactive with the user. Alexa has the capability of ordering amazon items or playing your favorite music but what’s next is a technology that knows when to play music. When you get done from class at 2:45 pm on a Monday your home will play soothing jazz music because it will know that you are stressed out after your IDES studios Mondays and Wednesdays. Your home will read your texts out-loud to you from your mom but not your classmate, because it knows that you’d rather know about your mom’s message but maybe can read your classmate’s later. This home will make appointments and reminders in your calendar when it reads that your sister’s baby shower is on Tuesday and you said “yes” to going. My argument is that in order for this to happen next people must make sacrifices in privacy in order for this vision of technology to proceed.
I attached this voice recording to demonstrate how Alexa is already in the direction of this envisioned progress. If you listen you can tell that by learned experience she knows what kind of music I enjoy instead of requiring one to ask precisely what song or artist to play.
When reading an article by Gabriele Lobaccaro, Salvatore Carlucci, and Erica Löfström: “A Review of Systems and Technologies for Smart Homes and Smart Grids” the authors describe the smart home as a way to enable communication between home appliances and the home user. “People usually do everyday activities at home and numerous advantages would be gained if the environment could react to humans’ behavior and gestures” (pg. 2) Smart homes essentially are to make or eliminate everyday tasks. The problem with this is that in order for the technology to be “smart” they must gain information about us.
“Wherever there is opportunity, you can expect to find some unsavory actors, and if there is any chance your coffee maker knows your credit card number, you can expect someone will be trying to talk to it.” (Elliot, pg. 1) The problem with current technologies is hackers. Even if we trust our privacy we have the other issue of someone taking that away. But if the smart home is eventually smart enough it would have the capability to block these hackers. In an article I had read: “Next List 2017: 20 People Who Are Creating the Future”, Parisa Tabriz describes her battle in eliminating human error. She is head of security for Google Chrome and says that her team is currently working to explore machine-learning tools to detect insecure network connections as well as ways our networks are hacked. (Pg. 2) The Internet of Things implies smart technology that is smarter than humans. The smart home would be able to detect hackers as well as glitches and be able to fix our protect the system in order to prevent these problems, eliminating human error as well as technological error.
This video is an excellent example of where this technology can go and further. It’s quite interesting that this technology which has been difficult to trust with our privacy, has been created by the person who created one of the most influential forms of social media. We trust social media with our messages because what people see is what we choose to post, but if we think about smart Ai technology as equal to the form of social media maybe we will be more comfortable. Beyond privacy we get to a further point of trust. Which is trusting the smart home with people other than you in your home, such as a child. This video shows Mark Zuckerberg’s Ai smart home he calls Jarvis. Some of Jarvis’ learned skills are meant to be funny but what caught my eye was when Jarvis acknowledges the child wake up and then begins to speak to her and entertain her. This technology requires us to trust this skill that has been learned and inputed, being in use without our supervision.
When Reading “Next List 2017: 20 People Who Are Creating the Future” I learned about the three woman behind the Amazon Alexa. When reading this my thoughts were really shaped on how Alexa has been used as a step to the future. These three creators were all liberal arts majors including: Farah Houston, A psychology grad specializing in personality science, Beth Holmes, a mathematician specializing in natural language, and Michelle Riggen-Ranson, who has an MFA in creative writing. “Alexa’s temperament can swing from practical and direct to whimsical and jokey,” says the authors. This gives an understanding of why Alexa is so successful. She makes tens of millions of consumers feel comfortable with having this technology in their home. As earlier shown in the Zuckerberg video, more enhanced technologies are already in progress but what Alexa gives is a step in that direction. We are capable of further technologies but Alexa is the tool used to get us there. Do we feel more comfortable with her because she lights up when she’s listening? There for giving the idea that the rest of the time we are mute to her?
What’s next is a smart home that is smarter than we are. In Zuckerberg’s video Jarvis reminds him of what meetings he has that day. Eventually our home will turn off our stove when we forget to and turn it on when we’re hungry. These devices will be able to learn from us and to continue their intelligence. In order to get to what’s next we must trust what we ourselves are creating. And in order to do this it must take an educated understanding of these technologies.