Tailored Cyber Security.

The AI Assistant Conundrum

It’s been a bit since I posted. I apologize to all of my avid readers, it must have been like waiting for a new season of your favorite show to come out. Tough. I love you all too.

Now, I’ve found myself in the midst of the same war that every other tech-head has. Every company has their own AI; Apple, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, etc. Beyond that there’s open-source projects for Raspberry Pi’s to host your own. Shoot, I’ve even got my own (dead) project to run a totally self-contained AI assistant. But let’s be honest, it’s way easier to just use a big company’s AI. It’s maintained by professionals and has a community to back it. But which one?

Sorry, this isn’t yet another comparison of AI assistants. We’re going to talk about if it’s secure and more realistically when it isn’t. As a precursor, I love Google Assistant. I tried to give a go with Cortana but that just didn’t happen. I’ve never used Alexa and I’m not a Siri fan for no real reason (other than that in my experience Siri sucks). So let’s dive into the overall theory of assistants.

As a precursor I’d like to admit something; this next paragraph is going to be leading.

A personal assistant in your home is pretty cool. You can tell it to play Netflix in the living room from the kitchen. You can ask what your schedule looks like from the dining room. You can play Spotify in the office while you find out who plays Dallas in Alien from the bedroom (spoiler alert: it’s Tom Skerritt). You can do pretty much anything you want; in natural language. Basically zero downside right?

I’ve always said that security and convenience have an inverse correlation. Now, password managers have messed up that view for me so if you don’t have one, get one. Is it convenient to give Alexa or Google Home access to your stuff? Actually, it kind of is. Every company is taking your information. Every service knows what you do. It turns out this is just the next step. Google doesn’t care if you ask a Google Home to play Katy Perry on Spotify. Amazon Alexa doesn’t care if you watch Desperate Housewives on Netflix. But, they know everything.

Security isn’t the question here. Privacy is. You give Apple or Google access to every step of your day simply by carrying your phone with you. You provide Facebook with every memory you have by uploading photos and updating your status. You even create a web of connections by friending certain people. You probably share nudes on Snapchat. You likely post pictures of your kids or your meal on Instagram (your kids and your meal are unrelated). Spotify, Pandora, Google, and/or Apple know your music preferences. Google/Bing knows what porn you watch.

Do you have privacy? I’d go ahead and grab one of the assistants for your home. They’re really cool. You have no privacy anyway.

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