We Can Still Hear You

Smart Devices Are Always Listening


No, you are not paranoid. Electronics really are listening. When your smart devices are listening for their wake word, that means they also hear everything else you say. But who is listening? According to New York Time, “There are always humans somewhere behind the curtain pulling the levers, and occasionally there are even humans listening to your requests for weather reports.” Yes, the main ear on the other side of Alexa is an algorithm, but it is people who make that algorithm work. 

Fox News states, “When you use your default settings, everything you say may be recorded through your device’s onboard microphone. Our phones routinely collect our voice data, store it in a distant server, and use it for marketing purposes.” And to prove it, there is an easy experiment you can try yourself. Go to settings, turn off microphone access for all apps, then talk about a product you have never talked about out loud by your phone. Repeat this many times. Before you know it, you will start getting targeted ads based on the product you talked about. 

This isn’t the only way technology gets to know you. Smart devices don’t only listen to you because they don’t have to. On June 20, 2021, The Conversation states, “pressing ‘like’ on a social media post sends a reward signal to an RL agent confirming you’re attracted to the post or person who posted it.” Same thing happens when you watch videos on YouTube. This may have been published a year ago, but that means technology has been doing this for that long. Even worse, people around the world have welcomed more technology into their homes sense then. Technology keeps track of what you like, and shows you more of it. Companies do this so you stay on their apps and websites. This is how they make money and get your information. Social media owners get money off of the information you freely give out. This makes you their unpaid worker.