When Your New Voice Assistant Creeps You Right Out

When Your New Voice Assistant Creeps You Right Out

MAKO Design + Invent – March 15, 2018

If you’ve been following the news, you’ve probably heard about how Amazon Alexa’s are creeping out their owners by laughing, on their own. An issue that Amazon claimed was just a misunderstanding between Alexa and her rightful owner. She was mishearing what people were commanding of her and because of it, Amazon quickly addressed the issue like the good inventors and innovators that they are and Alexa will no longer creepily break out into an eerie laugh.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a technology that is leading and innovating inventions around the world. AI assistants, like Amazon’s Alexa, have changed the way that people do things and it’s exciting for inventors everywhere to see or create what’s next in this world. However, this technology still has a long way to go.

Inventors and product developers know prototypes and first versions will need tweaks.

Is Amazon’s Alexa always listening?

Are they always listening?

In this article by ZDNET, an Alexa owner chatted about the good, bad and straight up creepy things he’d experienced after a month with Alexa living in his home. He had mentioned some of the downfalls being that every so often she would start speaking, even when not “woken up” by the wake word. Giving him the creepy suspicion that Alexa was always watching and listening, making some users paranoid. There’s no secret that we live in a society that profits from gathering personal information from users, and although users now are optimistic about AI products like Alexa, if things change around what is being done (if anything) with the personal information an AI assistant could collect, this could spiral into a large amount of distrust in an invention that has huge potential.

Inventors know the first product always have room for improvement, like Amazon's Alexa.

Photo: Amazon Alexa

Not even Alexa is perfect

The truth of the matter is, product developers and inventors alike know it can take time to perfect, especially when using relatively new technology like AI. Companies like Amazon are still learning and developing ways to improve its technology but at the end of the day, Alexa is still just a machine. No matter how “intelligent” they seem, they are far from perfect. There is still a possibility of the machine mishearing prompts, which in turn can result in spooky random laughs, and devices having a mind of their own.

At MAKO we know how exciting this technology is to inventors and we can only expect to see new and exciting inventions come from the constant improvement of AI.

About Us: MAKO Design + Invent is the original firm providing world-class consumer product development services tailored to small businesses, startups, and inventors. Simply put, we are the leading one-stop-shop for developing your physical product from idea to store shelves, all in a high-quality, cost-effective, and timely manner. We operate as one powerhouse 30-person product design team spread across 4 offices to serve you (Austin, Miami, San Francisco, & Toronto). We have full-stack in-house industrial design, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, patent referral, prototyping, and manufacturing services. To assist our startup and inventor clients, in addition to above, we help with business strategy, product strategy, marketing, and sales/distribution for all consumer product categories. Also, our founder Kevin Mako hosts The Product Startup Podcast, the industry’s leading hardware podcast. Check it out for tips, interviews, and best practices for hardware startups, inventors, and product developers. Feel free to Contact Us anytime for help with your project.

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