People have expressed their distrust of technology for centuries. Icarus wasn't exactly feeling like dad of the year after his son tried on those prosthetic wings, Mary Shelley wasn't vibing with the whole "let me make a son out of a corpse using electricity" idea. And have you seen Terminator 2? It's pretty glum right from the get go.
The more reliant we become on technology, the harder it gets to ignore that little voice in the back of our heads that says: "hey, this might mess me up in the long run." Elon Musk, who develops some of the world's most widely used and advanced automation technology has said that one of the greatest existential threats to humanity is artificial intelligence.
Though we probably don't have to worry about a robo-pocalypse anytime soon (because Tesla can't even make a self-driving car system that doesn't wig out on occasion), a lot of folks are concerned about their technology listening in on their conversations.
And as it turns out, your home voice assistants may be saving more of your data then you think, something TikToker Jessica Lowman learned when looking at Amazon Alexa's search history.
She posted a now viral screen recording of herself bringing up the audio search history on an Alexa-enabled device she and her boyfriend both use. Many users were as shocked as Jessica to learn that, not only does Alexa store the search queries, but it also saves a miniature recording of the user's voice with each query.
Turns out there's another voice recorded on the Alexa that belongs to another woman. She writes in a text overlay for the video: "So this is how I caught my ex cheating I didn't even know Alexa stored this shizzz."
Again, the video shows just the search queries rattled off by Jessica's boyfriend and another woman, who ask the device to adjust the volume and play Power Trip Miguel by J. Cole.
Jessica teased in a follow-up TikTok video where she asks her followers if they want to hear the message stored on the device that purportedly contain evidence of her boyfriend cheating.
Much has been written about Alexa's "eavesdropping," like this Washington Post article penned in 2019 that got folks second-guessing whether or not they wanted to put devices enabled with Amazon's voice-activated search feature and other similar assistants, like Google Home inside of their houses.
How many times have you chatted about a topic with a friend and then popped open your Instagram feed only to see targeted ads pertaining to what you discussed? I was once joking about Uncle Fester with a friend of mine in conversation (not text, nor did I ever search "Uncle Fester") and then out of nowhere, Fester's Quest t-shirts were on my IG feed. Scary.
TikTokers who saw Jessica's post quipped that they'd be getting their own significant others Amazon Alexas as a means of keeping tabs on them, while others were shocked at how much data was recorded on the home assistant. Others said that they weren't surprised at all.
How do you feel about home assistants? Would you want to keep one in your house? Or do you not like the idea of these devices possibly collecting data on your daily life in order to better market products/experiences towards your specific interests and daily activities/schedule?