Everyone seems to have a personal assistant these days. From Alexa to Watson, from Cortana to Viv, it seems that fewer and fewer people are willing to make time in their busy lives to manually search the web for the weather report; or go to the trouble of pushing a button to ask Siri to add a weekly reminder to take out the garbage.
Instead, from across the room, they order their digital servants to, “turn up the volume,” “change the channel” or find a recipe.
No please and thank you required.
As someone who used to pride herself on being an early adopter, these devices have stopped me in my tracks — my proclivity to be a technological guinea pig sapped by the prospect of inviting a know-it-all, all-hearing computer into my home just to save me the hassle of pushing a button or typing a query into a search engine. Do I really want some technology company listening in and capturing data as I nag my husband or sing off tune to a 70s classic?
The revelations in Snowden terrified me (I actually to paused the movie to cover the built-in camera on my computer with a sticker).
Perhaps I’m naïve. Maybe there’s no way to live in the modern world and at the same time prevent cyberspace from knowing everything it wants about me and my habits. However, I’m not going down without a fight. Like many of you, I don’t feel like I have a lot to hide, but as Edward Snowden so persuasively said,
"Arguing that you don’t care about privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say."
That said, if anyone wants to offer me the services of a real, live personal assistant to help with laundry, cleaning and cooking — that I’d willingly and graciously embrace with open arms.