Thanks to a proliferation of IoT connected devices outfitted with AI brains and tiny speakers, more and more of the devices around us are becoming voice-enabled. We’re already seeing this via in-home smartspeaker adoption, including Amazon Echo, Google Home, Apple HomePod, etc.. However, voice recognition and activation isn’t just confined to smartpeakers. As described in the attached WSJ article, pretty much every electronic device around you now comes with voice-enabled functionality.
Think about what a game-changer it will be when we can command the devices around us with our voice. From instructing your oven to cook dinner a certain way or opening the back door to let Fido out, the applications are unlimited. But there’s one catch to this voice-everywhere paradise in our future . . . in order for these devices to hear our commands they must be listening to us all the time. Yes, most voice-activated devices will still be triggered by a “wake” word such as saying Alexa, Siri, or Google, but they still have to be in listening mode to be activated. This could set up an epic battle around privacy concerns, data sharing etc.. If you thought the Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica data leak was a scandal, think about how upset we’ll be when our smart toothbrushes start telling our dentists that we haven’t spent enough time brushing?!?