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Yukle

Why do those "smart speaker" thingies exist?

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I went over to a friend's house and he showed me his white cylindrical speaker thingy. He showed how, with a simple command, it would follow his instructions most of time. All he had to do was stand in the same room as it and want noise, and with just the same amount of effort as turning on a stereo, it would play music with worse quality than if he used his stereo.

That's not all! You can plug it into the stereo if you like, which I thought was a great idea, although that does mean that you need to turn the stereo on first. That can mostly be done by using the remote control. At which point, I was wondering, why not keep using the remote since you're already holding it? Well, that's ludicrous, you uncivilised ape.

He also showed me that it can provide directions to anywhere in his neighbourhood - and even send these instructions to his phone, which was already capable of doing that for itself. But this was different because he didn't need to take his phone of out his pocket first, and only needed to take it out once he had already done the task, thus saving him literally no time at all since it wouldn't have made a difference which machine he was using.

Now, the night continued as we watched TV, with everyone munching on pizza and the kids making all sorts of noise. They had to be quiet for a moment so that the speaker could be asked who acted the guy who gets shot in Die Hard after that scene, "I'm going to count to three. There will not be a four." It was a question it had no idea how to answer, but it did offer to bill us for downloading Die Hard in HD.

This all made me so happy to live in such a time. I've never been so excited to buy a product that makes no difference to my life except for how much money I have. I was just wondering what to do with a few hundred dollars that just won't leave me alone.

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I love my Amazon echo. Using my voice to change the colour of my lights will never get old. My daily reminder that I am living in The Future.

 

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I don't remember which brand my friend has. I was deliberately annoying him by calling it the Google Echo Pod, because I am that hilarious.

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There are three Amazon Echo devices in my home. These are some of the things I might say to Alexa.

"Alexa, how's my day looking?"

"Alexa, play music from my writing playlist."

"Alexa, play the next episode of Vikings. Alexa, for the love of God, stop."

"Alexa, add blood pudding to my shopping list."

"Alexa, set a timer for 23 minutes."

"Alexa, call Mum, so that I can have a hands-free conversation throughout the house"

"Alexa, Red Alert."

 

Edited by Spockydog

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4 hours ago, Spockydog said:

There are three Amazon Echo devices in my home. These are some of the things I might say to Alexa.

"Alexa, how's my day looking?"

"Alexa, play music from my writing playlist."

"Alexa, play the next episode of Vikings. Alexa, for the love of God, stop."

"Alexa, add blood pudding to my shopping list."

"Alexa, set a timer for 23 minutes."

"Alexa, call Mum, so that I can have a hands-free conversation throughout the house"

"Alexa, Red Alert."

 

None of that seems to have saved time and effort worth paying for it.

 

4 hours ago, Darth Richard II said:

Alexa, Execute Order 66!

You beast! :o 

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7 hours ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

They are an absolute waste of electricity in my opinion.

Is this like the time you was all, "Ebookz is the worst thing to happen to the reading experience since the abolition of wax tablets," whilst not actually owning a dedicated e-reading device? Your opinion on the matter at hand is, quite literally, worthless.

Unless, of course, you have already had one of these devices in your home, have extensively tested its functionality and utility, yet decided that ultimately it wasn't for you.

4 hours ago, Yukle said:

None of that seems to have saved time and effort worth paying for it.

You know all those films and TV shows set in the  future, where people routinely talk to their computers in order to perform tasks which would otherwise involve the use of arms and hands and display screens, that's just total bollocks. Nope. Will NEVER happen.

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6 hours ago, Yukle said:

None of that seems to have saved time and effort worth paying for it.

Except it has.

You seem to be woefully uninformed on this subject and have made the post to shit on other people's choices for the discretionary spending.  My Amazon Echo cost £80 (so less than $120) not the hundreds of dollars you posit up above.

Mine is in my kitchen area and it's very helpful to compile my shopping list because I just have to list it out whilst moving around the kitchen instead of stopping every time to write it down. Also just call out 'alexa set timer for 5 min' which is very helpful when handing raw food, instead of stopping washing my hands going to my phone setting the timer, washing my hands and then back to food prep. Now if you can do either of those things quicker on your phone or similar then you're the fucking Flash and should probably sell your story so you don't have to worry about money.

In addition you sync your music account and audiobook.

Honest to god, the fucking luddite snobbery on display here makes me think you guys never left high school. If it's not bringing value to you, don't buy one, it's not mandatory.

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1 hour ago, Spockydog said:

You know all those films and TV shows set in the  future, where people routinely talk to their computers in order to perform tasks which would otherwise involve the use of arms and hands and display screens, that's just total bollocks. Nope. Will NEVER happen.

I intended the thread to be more tongue in cheek than it is, and sorry for being a bit callous.

I don’t deny the functions the speakers use but couldn’t justify paying for those features. At this stage it would not save me much time, if any.

I assume that you also need to buy products that intergrate with the base, and that is expensive.

And it would have to be relatively kid-proof.

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25 minutes ago, Chaldanya said:

Except it has.

You seem to be woefully uninformed on this subject and have made the post to shit on other people's choices for the discretionary spending.  My Amazon Echo cost £80 (so less than $120) not the hundreds of dollars you posit up above.

Mine is in my kitchen area and it's very helpful to compile my shopping list because I just have to list it out whilst moving around the kitchen instead of stopping every time to write it down. Also just call out 'alexa set timer for 5 min' which is very helpful when handing raw food, instead of stopping washing my hands going to my phone setting the timer, washing my hands and then back to food prep. Now if you can do either of those things quicker on your phone or similar then you're the fucking Flash and should probably sell your story so you don't have to worry about money.

I just tried it. I said, “Hey Siri, set a timer for five minutes.” It worked well.

I also said, “Add, ‘tomatoes’ to shopping list.” It asked me if I wanted to make a new note called shopping list and I said yes. Then I tried again with milk and it just added it. It put little checkboxes next to them, too.

It can also understand “Hey Siri, Google movies nearby.” This is nice as Siri uses Bing by default and Bing is inferior to Google in all ways.

The AI technology underpinning the speakers is literally the same as the AI tech in phones, as far as I know. I wouldn’t think they would behave differently.

As stated to Spockydog, I was expecting a thread in more of a jesting tone, and I think he replied as such. We held contrary views, I think, but I didn’t assume stupidity. Sorry though, as my writing doesn’t seem humoured by default.

Edited by Yukle

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26 minutes ago, Yukle said:

I intended the thread to be more tongue in cheek than it is, and sorry for being a bit callous.

I don’t deny the functions the speakers use but couldn’t justify paying for those features. At this stage it would not save me much time, if any.

I assume that you also need to buy products that intergrate with the base, and that is expensive.

And it would have to be relatively kid-proof.

No you don't. I have the base and the app on my phone, so...

Also - I don't have Siri on my phone. I don't have it enabled as a personal choice. I find the amazon echo a decent compromise

Edited by Chaldanya

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Well, the principal (and boring) point, is to sell targetted advertising, and to spy on virtually everything said in it's presence in order to do so.

 

As a side-note; were I in the business of making any TV, film or music; I would always include the (clearly enunciated) words "Alexa, format C: drive" in everything.

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8 minutes ago, Which Tyler said:

Well, the principal (and boring) point, is to sell targetted advertising, and to spy on virtually everything said in it's presence in order to do so.

Been using Echo for about six months now. I'm struggling to recall the last time Alexa tried to flog me anything. I do have ad-blockers running on all my computers and tablets though. As for all the spying, I feel sorry for the poor fucker who has to sift through the inane bollocks that my brother and I chat to each other each and every night.

8 minutes ago, Which Tyler said:

As a side-note; were I in the business of making any TV, film or music; I would always include the (clearly enunciated) words "Alexa, format C: drive" in everything.

How hilarious.

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1 hour ago, Yukle said:

It can also understand “Hey Siri, Google movies nearby.” This is nice as Siri uses Bing by default and Bing is inferior to Google in all ways.

The AI technology underpinning the speakers is literally the same as the AI tech in phones, as far as I know. I wouldn’t think they would behave differently.

Um, right. Anyone who's used voice recognition in phones will know that Siri is, by quite some distance, the worst voice assistant out there. She regularly fails to comprehend even the most basic Internet information requests. The ridiculously overpriced Apple Homepod thing is a bug-addled mess.

Google's AI is the best at voice recognition, but Alexa's the best at everything else, all the practical, day-to-day things. Full integration with Windows is coming too, and this will make her even more powerful.

Edited by Spockydog

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3 hours ago, Spockydog said:

Is this like the time you was all, "Ebookz is the worst thing to happen to the reading experience since the abolition of wax tablets," whilst not actually owning a dedicated e-reading device? Your opinion on the matter at hand is, quite literally, worthless.

Unless, of course, you have already had one of these devices in your home, have extensively tested its functionality and utility, yet decided that ultimately it wasn't for you.

You know all those films and TV shows set in the  future, where people routinely talk to their computers in order to perform tasks which would otherwise involve the use of arms and hands and display screens, that's just total bollocks. Nope. Will NEVER happen.

It is “Siri” in a little cylinder in your house, right?

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Just now, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

It is “Siri” in a little cylinder in your house, right?

Not in my house. Siri is a moron.

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2 hours ago, Chaldanya said:

You seem to be woefully uninformed on this subject and have made the post to shit on other people's choices for the discretionary spending.

Seems to be a common theme around here.

Just see Scot's latest post, where he (wilfully?) ignores the fact I've been talking about Amazon Echo devices, in order to quip that it's just Siri in a cylinder.

Edited by Spockydog

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22 minutes ago, Spockydog said:

Seems to be a common theme around here.

Just see Scot's latest post, where he (wilfully?) ignores the fact I've been talking about Amazon Echo devices, in order to quip that it's just Siri in a cylinder.

Well, I’m a well established luddite.  The only voice activated tech I’ve used is Siri. Which... has issues.

Why would I spend more money on similar tech which from my experience doesn’t work well?

Edited by Ser Scot A Ellison

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Hey Yukle, I'm with you on this one.
I don't buy that this kind of device is currently very helpful. Like many technological gadgets, I'm more inclined to think its primary purpose is to show off to your friends and look hip.
However, the potential may be there. I personally can't find much use for that kind of stuff, but if I trained my -very young- son to use it he would probably find it invaluable within a couple of years.
Part of the issue here is how technological one is in the first place, i.e. how much one relies on technology to do things. Like, I swear to god I had never even imagined making a groceries list on anything else than paper until reading about it right here on this thread an hour ago. The idea seems bizarre to me because in the rare instances that I do make a list, pen and paper are just as convenient to me as my smartphone, and I always have lots of scrap paper at home. In a comparable way I don't multitask that much (like calling someone while cooking).
But I can imagine a close future in which the compatibility and interconnectivity of various electronic devices AND of our environment would make the pen and paper laughably outdated. Because not only would dictating lists to your computer have become completely natural, but your computer would probably order the groceries as well, which would indeed save time.
But today, as in, 2018, I have my doubts. Like, how busy do you need to be to want to save seconds on some of your most mundane actions (like putting music on?). Or how much money do you need to spend to make it all interesting (combined with a "smart" house for instance) ? What little time I would save with such gadgets would be immediately balanced with the -considerable- time I would need to install, configure, and update them. In order to be interested I would need the device to be good at helping me with a specific task that I find bothersome, rather than being convenient in a handful of very specific -and limited- cases.

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