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Tag Archives: IOT

Voice assistants I love to unplug, and smart fridges I really don’t need

I’ve had some fun with Alexa. The matter was settled over the Christmas break: We can do without AI in our home.

I had previously written about it here. And featured voice assistants in my last tech column, “I spy with my little AI.” I reference how creepy it could get should an AI enabled device such as Alexa, Google assistant or even Siri eavesdrop on our private conversations. AI devices after all are supposed to do our bidding, not spy on us. But there’s a fine line between passively listening and spying.

So when we discovered that an AirBnB we rented over the break provided an Amazon Echo speaker, it got to the point where (after a few rounds of asking Alexa random questions and finding ‘her’ quite annoying) I unplugged it and put the darn thing away.

It was no surprise then to hear that at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Vegas,  several new breeds of AI devices were unveiled, designed to respond to human inclination to suddenly want to talk to hardware. Such as the smart refrigerator by LG that ‘talks’ to a smart oven etc.

Which makes me wonder: Just at the time when we have plenty of research pointing to the correlation between being too plugged in, and being extremely socially disconnected, we have the tech sector pushing products that seem to exacerbate the issue. I don’t need a smart fridge, thank you very much – I just need a painless way to talk to an LG service rep (25 minutes on hold, seems customary) when my fridge behaves badly.

And speaking of snooping devices, here’s something that is advertised as being able to monitor a home. A clothes hook with a hidden camera. Creepy? Or is it the sign of (the Internet of) things to come?

 
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Posted by on January 17, 2018 in LMD, Technology

 

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In the age of Shodan, cars aren’t the only targets in the Internet of Things

IOT of the Internet of Things may sound like an overblown idea. But it’s becoming a reality, despite the buzz phrase. Consider the millions of controllers in homes that are connected to common appliances such as baby monitors, security cameras, garage doors etc.

I brought this up in a class on Internet Safety, and it’s fun getting students to brainstorm what steps one could take to play it safe when you are connected to the Internet. It opens to door to discussions broader than not clicking on links and pop-ups, or using hard-to-crack passwords. There are software fixes, and there is common sense. Consider how FBI director, says he placed a piece of tape over his laptop camera, to prevent someone hacking into it.

Not many have heard about Shodan. It’s considered a search engine for connected devices – such ‘things’ devices connected to Linksys, Netgear, or Cisco boxes.

This true-life hack of a Jeep is a good way to discuss what ‘things’ might entail in the Internet of Things.

 
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Posted by on September 12, 2016 in Ed-Tech, Education, Technology

 

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