Alexa Parties At Home Alone
A few years back, the first time I heard of this Alexa, Echo device - a radio engineer was all aflutter in his office and hailed me as I passed down the hallway. "George, c'mere. Check this out!".
First, know that radio engineers are their own special breed of animal: super geek nerds - if it's got wires attached to it or lights up or makes a noise, it gives them tingly goosebumps of excitement. If it lights up, blinks, buzzes, or vibrates all at the same time, it's even more impressive. If it does all these things, is the very latest in technology, and they understand how it works, watch out - they just won't be able to sit still.
Days before, he had just received one of these Alexa-Echo things, and with a giddiness that can only be compared to a bride shopping for a wedding dress, began to tell me everything it could do, and everything he'd already programmed it to do in his home. While I patiently stared glassy-eyed at his phone, he turned his home air conditioning on and off simply by speaking into the phone. He could order groceries, command it to turn off lights from his central bedroom command post, and a wide assortment of other odds and ends. That's what he said, "I can order groceries from my bedroom, and turn lights and off!"
Of course, me being me, I don't want anything like that in my home. You never know who's listening. Not that I'm plotting anything devious, but I'm just what one would call a "private person", and I don't want anyone to know what my AC is set on. I like it cold at night, come summer or winter, and it's my business to take care of the electric company over it.
These things are intelligent personal assistants. I'll turn my own AC on and off, thank you, and no one in The Pentagon will ever know what it's set on or what I need from the grocery store.
Anyway, now comes a story about what these snoopy devices may be doing while you're not at home.
In Hamburg, Germany, neighbors of Oliver Haberstroh's apartment called police about the deafening music coming from his place. Germans, like Louisianans of a certain age, don't like it really noisy after about 10 or 11 PM.
Upon checking the apartment, finding it empty, and locating Haberstroh at a nearby bar having a brew, everyone realized that Alexa, on her own, switched the stereo on and turned it to full volume.
It is probably only a matter of time before intelligent devices and self-aware artificial intelligence devices take over the world, one home at a time. But not at my house.