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IS ALEXA SPYING ON YOU?

“Alexa is a double agent. While working for us, she’s actually more working for Amazon.”


Wendy Mesley: Many of you have been talking to Alexa. But is that virtual butler just helping you? Some experts are now warning users to be a little cautious because the very information you’re feeding the machine’s algorithms could be used later to influence you and you may not even know what’s happening. It’s already monitoring how you live.


Should Canadians be worried about Alexa or any of these?


Jesse Hirsh: Yes and no. On the one hand, they’re very empowering and seductive, but on the other hand, Alexa is a double agent. While working for us, she’s actually more working for Amazon, both in collecting data but also helping to sell us more stuff.


Wendy Mesley: We heard about algorithms. So, what are they watching for? What’s the plan?

Jesse Hirsh: Well, they’re watching everything.


Wendy Mesley: Like what?


Jesse Hirsh: The mistake we make is we think of a human and a human’s ability to focus their attention, but they’re gobbling all that they can.


Wendy Mesley: Is there a way of using this but protecting yourself?


Jesse Hirsh: You can use privacy settings. You can use this wisely, but fundamentally, this is a Faustian bargain and that we are giving up our personal information in hopes for cheaper prices. But I think it’s the long-term consequences that we should be paying more attention to.


Transcript captured from the video by CBC News

SEE FULL VIDEO HERE:


(00:31 to 04:40)


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