October 11, 2017
It’s not surveillance if you pay for it.
The year is 2070, and this is a typical day for a typical man.
George is gently brought out from his slumber by his Google wife, who tells him that breakfast is ready. The automaton watches him eating, and relays the information to the cloud in order to better tailor the ads to his food tastes – and adjust his health insurance premiums.
He’s driven to work by his Google car, which posts his location straight to his social media feed from minute to minute.
As he arrives to work, he’s called to his manager’s office. As it turns out, Google’s AI systems analysed George’s thoughts from his google brain implant and found that he’s had a 3% increase in negative thoughts about his employers this month, so they have no choice but to let him go.
George almost has a flash of anger towards his boss, but catches himself just in time. Angry thoughts towards trans-dog polykins, like his boss, was classed as a severe violation of Google Eat’s terms of service, and could see his account suspended for a month. He would starve.
Luckily, George was implanted with the Google Equilibrium chip, which helped him avoid discriminatory or otherwise insensitive thoughts. He would be able to eat this month.
Thank God for progress.
The Google Home Mini isn’t out yet, but Google is already dealing with an issue related to it.
The latest in bugman tech.
The Google mini is basically a microphone that records everything you say and sends it to Google by WiFi. It seems that some people are comfortable with such a thing, and indeed, are willing to pay for it.
In exchange for bugging your appartment, Google will convey your commands to your other home appliances, resulting in “home automation.”
Artem Russakovskii, the founder of Android Police, tells the harrowing tale of a Google Home Mini gone rogue. Russakovskii’s pre-release unit, which he picked up from Google’s October 4 event for the tech press, has apparently recorded “thousands of times a day” and attempted to respond to random noises. After swapping the device with Google, Google engineers determined that Russakovskii’s Home Mini had a defective touch panel that was registering “phantom” touch events. The Mini has a touch-sensitive surface, and, to issue a command, you can either say “OK Google” or long press on the top. Russakovskii’s unit was apparently registering touches at random, so it would randomly start recording audio of his home and storing it on Google’s servers.
Google acknowledged the issue on a support page, saying, “The Google Home team is aware of an issue impacting a small number of Google Home Mini devices that could cause the touch-control mechanism to behave incorrectly. We immediately rolled out a software update on October 7 to mitigate the issue.”
For now, Google’s “mitigation” to the issue has been to update to all Google Home Minis to totally disable the “long-press to talk” functionality. The company also says it “removed any activity/queries that were created by long-pressing the top of a Google Home Mini between October 4 and October 7, when the software update was rolled out.”
Google says the people affected are those “who received an early release Google Home Mini device at recent Made by Google events.” “Made By Google” events presumably don’t just cover the press event; they also cover the pre-release giveaways that have been occurring at pop-up stores across the US and Canada. The Google Home Mini won’t officially hit store shelves until October 19th.
From reading this, you’d think that once they fix the “bug,” the gadget won’t be recording you 24/7.
If the machine wasn’t constantly recording, how could it tell when you start asking it for something? It would be technically impossible. Moreover, the Google voice recognition engine is cloud-based. The only question is, how much of the information is it sending to Google’s servers, and what is Google doing with that info?
I’m guessing Google is pretty much going to monetize everything. You can look forward to seeing YouTube ads related to the things you whispered in your girlfriend’s ear the previous night.
Why are all these bugmen so eager to set up networked surveillance microphones in their homes, just so they don’t have to flick their light switches manually?
Nothing will stand in the way of greater convenience – not even a totalitarian police state! -Bugmen