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“Computer, play some early Jethro Tull”

by Greg Krehbiel on 28 September 2017

I used to think it would be cool if I could come home from work, open the front door and say, “Computer, play a random selection of early Jethro Tull, and focus on the acoustic stuff.”

Google Home and Amazon Echo are getting close to that.

It would also be cool to have your music follow you around the house on a Saturday, when you’re doing chores here and there. Or answer the phone in any room without having to pick up a receiver. Or — when you’re watching a TV show — ask a question, like “how old was Mary Queen of Scots when she married?”

The convenience comes with a cost — which is that you’re opening your komono to the hegemons.

What’s wrong with that? Why do I care if a Facebook computer knows what music I listen to?

Well, how long will it be before that data will be used to profile terrorists and tax evaders? And what kind of a defense can be mounted against a “big data” predictive algorithm?

If the algorithm mistakenly thinks I like lima beans, then Green Giant might waste some ad revenue. No great loss. But if the data sends a SWAT team to break down my front door, shoot my dog (I don’t have a dog) and terrorize my family, that’s a problem.

It would be comforting to believe that there are checks in place to prevent this. FISA courts and whatnot. But recent revelations aren’t encouraging. Government officials lie with impunity about the surveillance state — what it does, and how it’s regulated. And while government is failing to do its job monitoring all this, the data is getting bigger and more intrusive.

But … it’s so awfully convenient ….

2017-09-28  »  Greg Krehbiel

Talkback x 3

  1. pentamom
    29 September 2017 @ 8:49 am

    I know this isn’t your point but you could have your music follow you around the house without that invasion, by combining locally stored music and a good pair of Bluetooth headphones.

  2. Greg Krehbiel Greg Krehbiel
    29 September 2017 @ 8:52 am

    Yes, but I don’t like wearing headphones when I’m working. What I have done, from time to time, is just play music on my phone speaker. It’s not very good, but at least it follows me around. 🙂

  3. William
    29 September 2017 @ 3:14 pm

    Not quite your vision but you could set up several integrated wireless speakers throughout your home (see link). Play your music on your moblie device (connected via bluetooth) and simply turn on/off the speakers as you move about. The sound quality is incredible.

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