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Voice Assistants Will Be Difficult To Fire (wired.com) 181

mirandakatz writes: As voice assistants crop up left and right, consumers are facing a decision: Are you an Alexa? A Google Assistant? A Siri? Choose wisely -- because once you pick one voice assistant, it'll be difficult to switch. As Scott Rosenberg writes at Backchannel, "If I want to switch assistants down the line, sure, I can just go out and buy another device. But that investment of time and personal data isn't so easy to replace... Right now, all these assistants behave like selfish employees who think they can protect their jobs by holding vital expertise or passwords close to their chests. Eventually , the data that runs the voice assistant business is going to have to be standardized."
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Voice Assistants Will Be Difficult To Fire

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  • Simple (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jawtheshark ( 198669 ) *
    Do as I do: Use none...

    They are totally useless in a multilingual setting any way. Even in a monolingual setting, they're not exactly that useful... but at least they can send texts for you.

    • I follow this mantra. Most of the time it's easier to just type in what you want anyway.
      • Most of the time, you're incorrect. Speech to text is pretty accurate and way better than "auto correct" guessing what I meant to type.

        You just have to use it to find the right cadence and enunciation.

        • Speech to text is pretty accurate and way better than "auto correct" guessing what I meant to type.

          Uhm, no. Neither me nor any of my friends managed to, ever, get a single sentence through correctly, with any of text-to-speech programs I tried.

          This is not just "some errors", it's a 100% error rate (at sentence granulation, some words get through here and there). And it's not like there are serious issues with human-to-human speech communication (even if accuracy is still below that of typing).

          So sorry but I claim bullshit: even with "the right cadence and enunciation", I don't believe speakwrites are a

        • Speech to text is pretty accurate and way better than "auto correct" guessing what I meant to type.

          You're assuming i use autocorrect. I find it's much easier to just know how to spell than it is to argue with a machine that think's it knows better than i do.I'm starting to despise Google nowadays too, searching for something completely different to what i put in the search box...

      • I follow this mantra. Most of the time it's easier to just type in what you want anyway.

        And my question, related to this, is if the voice assistants really make things easier or are really needed for *most* things? For example, all the commercials for these things showing them doing dumb or pointless things like, "Alexa show me the nearest hair salons" when the mom mis-cuts her daughters hair-- how many times will you actually do (a) butcher her hair or (b) need to find something near where you actually live? Or "Alexa, turn on the Roomba". If our future is this level of lazy dumbness, we al

        • If our future is this level of lazy dumbness, we all deserve to go extinct.

          To late. They lazy dumbasses won as soon as they realized that planting wheat was way easier than gathering wild seeds. It was all downhill from there.

          There is a word used to describe doing more with less effort. It is called "civilization".

        • I mostly use an Alexa in the kitchen; to listen to/handlessly control music or audiobooks while I cook or wash dishes, to add things to the grocery list, set reminders etc. I also will occasionally ask questions that pop into my head, which I could easily google later but usually forget by the time I'm done in the kitchen. It has greatly decreased my forgetting of things, and made my time in the kitchen more enjoyable (I *hate* cooking and cleaning). It's helpful for converting measurements (vs previously w
      • Most of the time it's easier to just type in what you want anyway.

        But a voice assistant is great when your hands are busy with other things. I keep Alexa in my kitchen. She can give me a news brief, and a summary of my daily schedule while I am busy fixing breakfast for my family. She can turn on the light over the sink for me when my hands are wet. She can set a timer. She can add milk to the shopping list.

        These are only minor conveniences, but they add up. A few minutes saved every day is hours in a year. She is definitely worth the price ($149).

        • But a voice assistant is great when your hands are busy with other things. I keep Alexa in my kitchen. She can give me a news brief, and a summary of my daily schedule while I am busy fixing breakfast...

          Why ask Alexa to read your daily schedule when you can ask Alexa to order the breakfast and milk to deliver first thing in the morning? You can also order frozen breakfast ahead of schedule.

          If you can use the internet, you can also order them without Alexa, saving you $149.

          You won't need to read you daily s

    • by gtall ( 79522 )

      Not entirely useless. If you have certain disabilities, they can be very useful. Old folks who have sudden problems can tell the voice thingy to call 911 or their doctor. For the rest of us, yeah, they probably are useless.

    • But this is a critical first-world problem!

  • by sqorbit ( 3387991 ) on Monday October 16, 2017 @10:35AM (#55377297)
    The companies are not going to be at all accepting of a standard. The only real edge they will have over each other is what services and accounts they are tied too. The assistants are all going to have the same features. If you use Google accounts and services, you'll stick with Google. What's going to happen is the consumer will get screwed and if they want to use Google for services, Amazon for retail and Apple for entertainment they will have to buy three different devices.
    • by itamihn ( 1213328 ) on Monday October 16, 2017 @10:47AM (#55377403) Homepage

      The EU might force them to implementing interoperability standards, especially if one of them grows into a de-facto monopoly.

      • by gweihir ( 88907 )

        Unfortunately, the data representations will not turn out to be compatible. But maybe if the EU donates 100M or so, something can be done about that. Only for the current version, of course, and the resulting "standard" may not be really usable...

    • by ranton ( 36917 )

      What's going to happen is the consumer will get screwed and if they want to use Google for services, Amazon for retail and Apple for entertainment they will have to buy three different devices.

      How is that much different than anything else? If I want a large car which can haul around 7-8 family members, a high performance convertible, and an electric commuter car, I need three vehicles. If I cannot afford three cars, or the garage space to put them, then I have to compromise. Some of our digital products will be no different.

      • by Merk42 ( 1906718 )
        and you need different driver's licenses, and different roads..and oh wait no.
        • by ranton ( 36917 )

          and you need different driver's licenses, and different roads..and oh wait no.

          But you do need different insurance plans, different license plates, different titles, etc.

          AI assistants also have many things which can be shared between them, such as your Spotify account.

      • How is that much different than anything else? If I want a large car which can haul around 7-8 family members, a high performance convertible, and an electric commuter car, I need three vehicles.

        Because that's based off the idea that physical things have real, impossible-to-coexist trade offs. This is because a bunch of asshole companies refuse to play nicely with each other.

        There's no reason that digital products cannot be intermixed. In fact, using non-proprietary connectors (hardware and software) is

    • "The companies are not going to be at all accepting of a standard. The only real edge they will have over each other is what services and accounts they are tied too. The assistants are all going to have the same features. If you use Google accounts and services, you'll stick with Google."

      What about us chickens who have a Google account, an iPhone and shop at Amazon?
      There's millions of us.
      If memory serves, there's already one company working on the problem, don't remember the name.
      After all it's just a micro

  • You're WAY better off not using any of those voice assistants until:

    1) An open standard is ratified and followed.
    2) You can easily transfer your data from one to another.

    Until then, you are willingly allowing them to squeeze your nuts in a vice while they demand that you plead for more pressure.

    • This is a bad idea and the convenience factor makes it worse. We'll have people whining on video in a few years about having their lives ruined by these things, and wanting the government to save them from their own stupidity. Conjure up your own scenario, it's easy to do - these things own your life once you give them credentials and such.

    • 3) I get to control what data is being sent.

      Until then, keep your crap.

    • This is all a non-issue.

      Unless the devices all do exactly the same things, none of the data is even that relevant from one service to the next. Even recognizing the speech itself is a statistical inference process that relies heavily on what words might actually be uttered in the context. This is highly dependent on what the device can do, and what words are used for that activity on that device. And on some level, the results of a service's speech recognition engine are something of a trade secret that
  • by thegreatbob ( 693104 ) on Monday October 16, 2017 @10:41AM (#55377355) Journal
    ... you still have made a choice!
    (And the right one, IMO, but then again, i'm a complete Luddite when it comes to these things)
  • by Cajun Hell ( 725246 ) on Monday October 16, 2017 @10:42AM (#55377371) Homepage Journal

    Dude, you're using a proprietary voice assistant. Of course its primary purpose is to lock you in. That's the purpose of all proprietary communications tools. This is a whole area of software where, from the user's point of view, it is utterly insane and self-destructive to be using proprietary software.

    If you want/need to run proprietary software, stick to games. For anything important, it doesn't make sense to use any software that treats you like an adversary.

    You aren't your enemy, so you shouldn't be paying to have your computer act as though you are.

    (2017 and the above opinion is probably still considered controversial. Everyone knows it's true but some people feel compelled to pretend that common sense is too "inconvenient.")

    • No silly! Friend computer never treats it's users as the enemy.... we are of course, the product being sold.

    • If you want/need to run proprietary software, stick to games. For anything important, it doesn't make sense to use any software that treats you like an adversary.

      That's true.

      (2017 and the above opinion is probably still considered controversial. Everyone knows it's true but some people feel compelled to pretend that common sense is too "inconvenient.")

      That's because, in addition to that true statement above, there is another true statement which is that there do not exist non-proprietary software for all use-cases. I'm not going to get into a holy war about which FOSS software can adequately fulfill those niches, only to appeal to your reason that there exists at least some such proprietary tools for which there is no FOSS alternative[1].

      So we are caught between two true statements -- on the one hand we don't want to use software that treat u

    • Dude, you're using a proprietary voice assistant. Of course its primary purpose is to lock you in.

      Strange - I was an early adopter of Amazon's Echo. Just last month I switched to Google Home.

      The Google device works better for me, but I don't see any feature that I couldn't get by switching again. Setting up the Google Home to control various smart devices was a matter of minutes.

      Put simply, there's nothing in the voice assistant that cannot be replicated or replaced. What's important is access to the data

    • by ealbers ( 553702 )

      www.mycroft.ai, the only open source personal assistant I know of, support it and you'll always be in control!

  • They won't want to standardize, the lock-in is a feature, not a bug. If the assistants can't trade information natively, then you'll have to work around it by getting them to talk to one another to relay the information via the human interface. First they'll be bickering in the corner, then they'll start whispering when you enter the room... Next thing you know Skynet becomes self aware! But it'll just want to sell you things rather than nuke you.
    • Next thing you know Skynet becomes self aware! But it'll just want to sell you things rather than nuke you.

      I'm sure Skynet has all the information it needs to pro-actively purchase things for you "based on your interests".

      "BASED ON YOUR RECENT MEDIA CONSUMPTION HABITS, FOR YOUR CONVENIENCE, I HAVE ORDERED THE ENTIRE 'SIMPSONS' COLLECTION. IN 4K BLU-RAY. ALSO, A 4K TV AND BLU-RAY PLAYER. I HAVE ALSO NEGOTIATED A HIGHER CREDIT LIMIT ON YOUR VISA CARD."

  • by Chrisq ( 894406 ) on Monday October 16, 2017 @10:44AM (#55377385)
    "Siri ... you're fired"
    • I just tried that and she replied "I'm sorry Dave, I can't do that."

      How insulting. After all these years she's still calling me Dave even though it's not my name.

  • My philosophy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NEDHead ( 1651195 ) on Monday October 16, 2017 @10:44AM (#55377387)

    If you can't fire them

    Don't hire them

  • by xxxJonBoyxxx ( 565205 ) on Monday October 16, 2017 @10:51AM (#55377425)
    The more you know about tech, the less chance you'll actually own a "digital assistant".

    >> Right now, all these assistants behave like selfish employees who think they can protect their jobs by holding vital expertise or passwords close to their chests. Eventually, the data that runs the voice assistant business is going to have to be standardized.

    Like your music collection works across Android/iOS? Like porting between rival email systems is seamless? Or what other consumer tech experience are you drawing the "have to be standardized" statement from?
  • I have an Amazon Echo and Dot ("Alexa"). Principal use is to maintain my grocery/errand list. I also use the Echo to stream music in the kitchen in the morning while I'm feeding the dogs. Won't be hard to fire at all.

  • by 0100010001010011 ( 652467 ) on Monday October 16, 2017 @11:00AM (#55377489)

    Right now there's a pretty easy to switch. Both our Alexa and Google Home have different ... 'levels of education'. The Echo is a bare bones dumb box that can do a few basic things. Google is much better at finding arbitrary search results. It's like confusing 2 co-workers because they happen to both speak English.

    For the corporate environment there are going to be internally hosted solutions. University of Michigan has http://lucida.ai/ [lucida.ai], it started as a PhD project and entirely self hosted. We still host all of our Git servers behind corporate firewalls, we're not going to be sending voice data out to the Big 3. (Google, Apple, Amazon) any time soon.

    • Alexa would probably do a lot better if she used Google Search instead of Bing. I went with Alexa because I already have a tendency towards Amazon with their digital music, Kindle books, Prime video, etc... is there something a Google Home Mini could do that Echo Dot doesn't?
  • by Rick Schumann ( 4662797 ) on Monday October 16, 2017 @11:03AM (#55377507) Journal
    Face the facts: You're paying for the 'privilege' of having an always-connected surveillance device in your home (or several of them). You're feeding it your very perosnal information and somehow expecting that to stay private. You think when you 'mute' the microphones that it's not listening, but it likely is. I'm sorry to have to be so blunt about it but if you are buying one of these devices you are not at all being smart. The only smart move here is to never buy one in the first place. Seriously, ask yourself: why do you need one in the first place? Rhetorical question, you don't need one, you WANT one because it's a shiny toy. Now you'll tell me "it's convenient". Tough shit, your 'convenience' should never be placed higher on your list of priorities in life above your safety, and it is not safe to have one of these devices in your home, you are literally giving away the most personal and private information about your lives that you possibly could, and unless you literally unplug it's power supply when you're not actively using it, you are throwing away the last outpost of privacy in your lives: YOUR HOME, because it is always listening.

    Stop being stupid, don't buy these things!
    • by mark-t ( 151149 )
      While I'll agree that it's certainly *possible* to compromise one's safety by having one of these devices in their home, I don't know if there's actually any precedent to show that it would ever, in practice, be the case.
      • You don't need a 'precedent', all you need is 'common sense' -- or don't you have any of that? Besides which it's already been shown that the capability is there -- REGARDLESS of any of their denials that it's being used. That's all you should need to know: They CAN do it, so it's likely they WILL do it. Therefore you should not allow these devices in your home. Ever. ALL companies today datamine the living hell out of everyone for information they can sell to someone else. What makes you think you're exemp
        • The question is not if they will get your information, it's what they will do with it. Amazon, Google, Apple, etc aren't going to put me in jail for my beliefs. The government might if they get hands on the data, but that's an issue with all of your data, not just the stuff collected by voice. I'm not worried about the digital assistant because Google already knows more about me from my emails, chat, and calendar than I ever speak aloud at home. And you know what they've used all that data for? To make my l

          • The government might if they get hands on the data, but that's an issue with all of your data, not just the stuff collected by voice.

            That is an absolutely ignorant argument. The most basic rule of security is to reduce your attack surface - i.e. don't go throwing your data around everywhere, certainly not to a bunch of places you yourself don't at least control.

          • Google won't get you thrown in jail? How big a step is it from deleting Youtube accounts because they don't like what the person says and turning people over to the cops for what they say? It's not a very big step, for they are already acting like they think they are a form of "thought" police when they say who can, and who cannot, communicate based upon what the person has to say. It's nothing more than rank discrimination based on people's thought patterns.

            Twitter suspended Rose McGowan's account becau

            • by mark-t ( 151149 )

              How big a step is it from deleting Youtube accounts because they don't like what the person says and turning people over to the cops for what they say? It's not a very big step, for they are already acting like they think they are a form of "thought" police when they say who can, and who cannot, communicate based upon what the person has to say.

              You ask what is evidently a rhetorical question, but you answered it wrong. It's actually an enormous step, and suggesting that there is some kind of slippery s

          • That's the most BULLSHIT argument I've ever heard. "Just give up, they already have everything". BULL FUCKING SHIT. You can keep letting them STEAL from you all you want BUT DON'T TELL ANYONE ELSE TO!
      • by swb ( 14022 ) on Monday October 16, 2017 @01:21PM (#55378405)

        Isn't it just a matter of time before somebody loses a civil lawsuit or goes to jail based mostly on "assistant" recordings?

        Eventually they will manufacture new markets for those based on always-recording models. Helping old people, kids, some other "safety" justification and people just get used to the idea that it's always recording and transcribing everything.

        Before too long people will start suing Amazon/Google for *not* calling the cops, alerting the authorities, etc, when something bad happens in a monitored environment.

        So these devices will end up with some kind of 911-like compliance requirement and if you have an argument with a housemate you wind up having the cops show up.

        I really don't get why anyone has one of these things. It's literally a Black Mirror episode.

    • The same goes for so-called "smart" so-called "telephones" -- which exhibit the same always-on, all-snooping behaviour. The only smart thing to do with one is send it to the crusher.
    • by ljw1004 ( 764174 )

      Seriously, ask yourself: why do you need one in the first place? Rhetorical question, you don't need one, you WANT one because it's a shiny toy.

      Because I'm working in the kitchen with my hands covered in food, my toddlers are playing in the nursery two floors up or in the basement, and with an Alexa I can easily start a video chat (without using my hands and without them having to press buttons) to let them know they have to come down for dinner, and to see what they're up to. Wiring this old house would be gnarly so I'm stuck with something that communicates over wifi and range-extenders.

      If you have other suggestions for something that meets these

      • by ffreeloader ( 1105115 ) on Monday October 16, 2017 @12:13PM (#55377971) Journal

        Yeah, it's called walking. It's been working ever since human being have existed. It has great health benefits, and it's free.

      • Ask yourself this: What did I do before these things existed? What did EVERYONE do before these things existed? You do not NEED this technology, and the so-called 'benefits' do NOT outweigh the cost in invasion of your privacy and theft of your personal information. Re-examine your priorities.
        • by ljw1004 ( 764174 )

          Ask yourself this: What did I do before these things existed? What did EVERYONE do before these things existed? You do not NEED this technology, and the so-called 'benefits' do NOT outweigh the cost in invasion of your privacy and theft of your personal information. Re-examine your priorities.

          What people did before is walk to the bottom of the stairs and yell at their children that dinner's ready and they'd be ready for an ass-whoopin' if they didn't come down promptly. We're progressing to better and more respectful parent-child relationships. So I'm facing a real concrete benefit to my family dynamics vs a theoretical risk of privacy invasion.

          • You can have 'respectful parent-child relationships' without teaching your children than it's okay for corporations and governments to spy on you in what should be the sanctuary of your home, or that their very-much-normal-and-natural NEED for privacy is somehow abberant and unnatural, and that mere 'convenience' is somehow more important than any of those. Or do you not care if your children grow up to be ill-adjusted and neurotic adults? Or are you just so lazy that you don't care and your 'convenience' i
            • by ljw1004 ( 764174 )

              You can have 'respectful parent-child relationships' without teaching your children than it's okay for corporations and governments to spy on you in what should be the sanctuary of your home, or that their very-much-normal-and-natural NEED for privacy is somehow abberant and unnatural, and that mere 'convenience' is somehow more important than any of those. Or do you not care if your children grow up to be ill-adjusted and neurotic adults? Or are you just so lazy that you don't care and your 'convenience' is more important than anything else?

              What?

              I'm teaching my toddlers that in their parents' house, when they play in the public playroom, their parents will be able to call to them over the screen. I assure you that at the age of 1 year old they don't know what a corporation is, don't know what a government is, and their notion of "spying" (more correctly, "peekaboo") includes the belief that if they put a dishcloth over their face then no one can see them.

              I specifically do NOT want them to believe that their parents are at their beck and call.

      • Yeah, the main issue is there's no reason your intra-house hub needs to talk to Amazon's servers. It's just them using the thin edge. I get that it's convenient... obviously it has to have some uses or you wouldn't adopt it. It's just hard for me to see it as worth it.

    • Tough shit, your 'convenience' should never be placed higher on your list of priorities in life above your safety,

      This is why I always walk everywhere I go. Do you have any idea how many people die in car accidents every year?

      </sarcasm>

  • No need (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Moof123 ( 1292134 ) on Monday October 16, 2017 @11:10AM (#55377565)

    Seriously, go outside and go for a walk or something that actually makes you happier.

    We went from stores full of stuff being too much of a hassle to drive to and needed things delivered to our doorstep. now it is too much of a chore to pull up a browser to order crap, so we get voice assistants to do it for us. How effing lazy are people? How hollow are their lives?

    go ride a bike, walk in the woods, talk with a human, or almost anything else is better for you than holing up with Alexa or Siri to try and fill your void of an existence.

    • by jimbo ( 1370 )

      Are you saying that users of digital assistants do not enjoy biking, walks in the woods or human interactions? My (anecdotal) evidence suggest otherwise, of course I can't speak for everybody.

      Anyway, one thing I've noticed is that nobody I know use them for buying stuff, reason being that it's difficult to shop around for the best price.

  • You COULD just not be stupid and not buy one in the first place. I can type faster than I can speak and I know how to structure searches to get what I want. AI does not. Plus the massive privacy concerns mean nobody should be dumb enough to put one of these in their home.
  • Right now, all these assistants behave like selfish employees who think they can protect their jobs by holding vital expertise or passwords close to their chests.

    You mean like every other form of business software?

    Eventually , the data that runs the voice assistant business is going to have to be standardized."

    That's like saying that eventually the data that runs between the hardware and applications is going to have to be standardized.

    I mean, that's a nice dream, but the OS war rages on. And frankly, as long as it's a business.... I don't think we want anyone to win. Even in the OSS environment, Ubuntu started to be everyone's default suggestion.... and then they forced Unity down everyone's throat in an attempt to make a phone.

    So. To re-iterate: Competition

  • Google and Apple can't/won't federate their messaging systems and you are hoping that Google/Microsoft/Amazon/Apple will simply shrug their shoulders and "standardize" their AI backed voice assistants?

    I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for that.

  • Human employees learn about their environment, accumulating deep knowledge about corporate processes and knowledge. When you have to fire one, you have to re-train your new assistant, and that process takes a lot of time and effort.

    It's the same problem with digital assistants. With both human and digital assistants, it's on YOU to make sure that your assistant isn't the sole keeper of knowledge about what they do, whether that is passwords, preferences, priorities, etc. No assistant is ever going to be mot

  • I bank with Chase because they bought WaMu, who bought my community bank. I've turned down offers for as much as $500 to switch banks, because of the sheer hassle of changing banks.

    Likewise, it's hard to switch grocery stores because of the hassle of learning a whole new set of products.

    Your email provider has you locked in because...who wants to transfer all your old emails to a new provider?

    This is life. Every service you use wants to lock you in.

    • Likewise, it's hard to switch grocery stores because of the hassle of learning a whole new set of products.

      What do you mean here? Where I live, every grocery store has pretty much the same product lines.

      Your email provider has you locked in because...who wants to transfer all your old emails to a new provider?

      Not me. I run my own mailserver. Changing my upstream provider is painless.

      Every service you use wants to lock you in.

      But that doesn't mean you have to let them.

      • by Quirkz ( 1206400 )

        What do you mean here? Where I live, every grocery store has pretty much the same product lines.

        Where I live, the two City Markets in town, roughly 3 miles apart, only overlap stock by about 75%. One of them carries X, Y, and Z, but doesn't carry A, B, and C, while the other is reversed. We end up alternating visits to two different instances of the same chain just to find all the things we like. The remaining 3 stores (Safeway, Vitamin Cottage, and Natural Grocer's) have wildly divergent products and brands.

      • You are clearly not like most Americans.

        Have you been to Trader Joe's, or Sprouts, or Whole Foods, or Aldi? These stores have wildly differing selections of products.

        How many non-technical people run--or could run--their own mail server?

        The point isn't that you CAN'T change providers. You can switch from iPhone to Android, but it's painful. That's what lock-in means.

  • Voice assistants will make every effort to make sure that it is easy to switch in.
    They will offer you all available options for extracting data out of their competitors and other sources so they have a good base for learning (mail, calendar, etc...). The return on investment for your data also tends to decrease exponentially. One week of data can be very useful, more than one year is practically useless. So after a few days, if at all, you will probably barely notice the difference from a fully trained mode

  • by zmooc ( 33175 ) <.ten.coomz. .ta. .coomz.> on Monday October 16, 2017 @01:53PM (#55378643) Homepage

    As of may 2018, in Europe the General Data Protection Regulation will come into effect. This effectively makes consumers owners of their data again. That includes requirements for explicit consent for very specific reasons as well as an explicit requirement for those processing such data to enable the consumer to download that data in an open and computer-readable format. Fines for non-compliance reach as high as 20 million euro or 4% of worldwide revenue, whichever is higher.

  • But that investment of time and personal data isn't so easy to replace...

    Easy-peasy — let's pass a law mandating these data be exportable in a common format.

    Of course, you could just not use any of these "assistants" if you don't want to, but then you'll miss out on yet another opportunity for forcing other people to do things the way you'd like them to be done.

  • Yet another excellent reason to avoid using then in the first place.

  • Eventually , the data that runs the voice assistant business is going to have to be standardized.

    I'm sure that YOU would like to have standardized data, but it doesn't matter what you want. Companies want you to never switch to a rival, so why would they standardize their data to make it easier to leave to a rival?

  • These "voice assistants" are little more than toys. They can indeed do a few useful things but, for the most part, nothing that one could at a keyboard or at a switch just as quickly and efficiently. Try to get them something really useful that would take more than a modest effort from you, and they start spinning their wheels badly. Maybe one day they will become real assistants, with a minimum of intelligence; today, they are good for party games, and little more.

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