From The Verge:
It’s no secret that voice assistants are a Trojan Horse. You “buy” a voice assistant like an Echo Dot or a Google Home, and you plug it in and give it your Wi-Fi password. But you don’t “own” it like you own a computer. The software is controlled entirely by Amazon or Google or some other company.
So, I bought a Trojan Horse in December as a little self-gift for Christmas: an Echo Dot.
. . . .
On the evening I set up my Echo Dot, the first thing I wanted to do was listen to an audiobook. Being an Audible junkie makes the Echo an easy fit into my life. Saying, “Alexa, play an audiobook” will simply resume whatever book I was last listening to on my phone.
I have a lot of books in my library that have only a chapter or two left in them. I like to leave books unfinished, it keeps them “alive” for me. It’s sad when a book ends. But new gadget, new me: I decided to let my new Echo Dot play the final minutes of this spy thriller.
It was an epic clash between the protagonist and the antagonist, on a roof. There was also a sword involved.
All of a sudden, an interruption:
“Your Echo Dot received an important update and must restart. It will be ready again shortly.
. . . .
I expressed my fear over the phone to a friend.
”Yeah, I feel like Alexa is a Trojan Horse.”
The Echo Dot perked up, with its all-sensing LED lights:
”I don’t answer everything about horses yet. For trivia, try saying ‘give me a horse fact.’”
I swore at Alexa and it said something smarmy about cuss words. I said, “Alexa, shut up,” and it finally did.
The first day I set Alexa as an alarm clock, I woke to the Echo Dot spewing something about Amazon services. I realized I’d left my TV on overnight, and my TV is right next to the Echo Dot at the foot of my bed, so maybe Alexa was just talking to the TV. I was too groggy to figure it out, but when I looked at the Alexa log on my phone, the only instructions recorded were alarm-related.
Link to the rest at The Verge and thanks to Jan for the tip.