Author Topic: Is Google/WhatsApp/Facebook listening to our conversations for targeted ads?  (Read 41488 times)

Offline Skidder.

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Not being listened too, but listening in. My 11yo pointed out to me that if you have an iphone and airpods you can you something called Live Listen, allowing you to listen in to the room where your phone is while you are elsewhere (presumably maxed by the distance they stay connected, which is quite a lot). This seems a bit dodgy to me. I can think of some legit uses, but also a few dodgy ones.

I read something the other day about certain consumer speakers having the ability to both produce and capture sound at the same time. That kind of freaked me out a bit as in reality, a speaker is basically the opposite of a microphone... it'd take a bit of higgleypiggley to rig it like... but this article suggested that certain speakers already had this function in-built.

Find that hard to believe myself - but as I've said many times in this thread, nothing would surprise me nowadays.

But the programme you're talking about, the same thing could be done using any number of apps out now... even Whatsapp... or is there something I'm missing?

I'm not sure where to put this so will leave it here, I found it an interesting read.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/resources/idt-sh/hated_and_hunted_the_computer_virus_malware_ransomware_cracker


Read this the other week, a very interesting read that will probably become a Netflix documentary/film.
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Offline The Gulleysucker

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I read something the other day about certain consumer speakers having the ability to both produce and capture sound at the same time.

In principle, yes, but in practice, unlikely.

A loudpeaker is very low impedance in comparison to a Microphone, even a Ribbon mic, and also has substantial mass in order to move air when reproducing a sound, making it difficult for it to be either sensitive if used as an input device or for it to generate a signal except at very close range and with quite loud sounds.

Add to that the electronic difficulties you would face simultaneously reproducing sound while also listening, it would be akin to attempting to operate two lifts in one lift shaft.

It would be cheaper to simply put a tiny mic into any device.
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Offline Skidder.

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In principle, yes, but in practice, unlikely.

A loudpeaker is very low impedance in comparison to a Microphone, even a Ribbon mic, and also has substantial mass in order to move air when reproducing a sound, making it difficult for it to be either sensitive if used as an input device or for it to generate a signal except at very close range and with quite loud sounds.

Add to that the electronic difficulties you would face simultaneously reproducing sound while also listening, it would be akin to attempting to operate two lifts in one lift shaft.

It would be cheaper to simply put a tiny mic into any device.

Aye, this is what I thought, I'll dig through my history and see if I can find the link... it was an interesting read.
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Offline The Gulleysucker

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Aye, this is what I thought, I'll dig through my history and see if I can find the link... it was an interesting read.

If you could, that would be interesting.

I can see how it could be done in lab conditions, I'm just questioning the practicalities (and the cost and added complexity of implementation) of doing it in consumer devices. If it indeed can, I'd expect mobile phone manufacturers to adopt it pretty quickly as a way of reducing manufacturing costs.

The motor in a loudspeaker is identical in function to many mechanical/electical transducers, but they are typically being used solely as signal generators, not as signal reproducers although you can certainly get electromechanical pistons that you can connect to things like chairs to give you the effect of very low frequencies during gameplay. It's the combining of both functions simultaneously, reproduction and sensing, and of hugely different Db generation and also sensitivity, and within the same single mechanical system that I find dubious.

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Offline Skidder.

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I assumed from the article that it wasn't talking about the same time, I can't remember if I read that or inferred it.

You'll have to let me try and find it, I have had a 'spring clean' since and genuinely can't remember where I read it.

I spoke with my brother about it and he said car companies have been trying to implement this for years but that there is so much red tape. He works for one of the largest manufacturers in the world and while, like you, I question the mechanics of it (I may not have the training, but I do come from a family of electricians and audiophiles) I know that it is practically possible from a baseline point of view - but the implementation is the problem.

What struck me though is that the article claimed that there are speakers in circulation that have the capacity to do so (as in soundbars etc...)...

I don't know why, I have The Register in my mind as to where I read it, but am looking and can't find it!
« Last Edit: March 17, 2019, 08:39:15 PM by Kidder. »
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Offline The Gulleysucker

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Amazon, Apple and Google all employ staff who listen to customer voice recordings from their smart speakers and voice assistant apps.

News site Bloomberg highlighted the topic after speaking to Amazon staff who "reviewed" Alexa recordings.

All three companies say voice recordings are occasionally reviewed by humans to improve speech recognition.

But the reaction to the Bloomberg article suggests many customers are unaware that humans may be listening.

The news site said it had spoken to seven people who reviewed audio from Amazon Echo smart speakers and the Alexa service.

Reviewers typically transcribed and annotated voice clips to help improve Amazon's speech recognition systems.

.....


https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-47893082
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.  - Sagan
Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. - Aldous Huxley
Law of Logical Argument   Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.
Believer in the Light Demons of Chunder-Upon-Tits - Corkboy
Very sad man with too much time on your hands - ghost1359

Offline Skidder.

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Amazon, Apple and Google all employ staff who listen to customer voice recordings from their smart speakers and voice assistant apps.

News site Bloomberg highlighted the topic after speaking to Amazon staff who "reviewed" Alexa recordings.

All three companies say voice recordings are occasionally reviewed by humans to improve speech recognition.

But the reaction to the Bloomberg article suggests many customers are unaware that humans may be listening.

The news site said it had spoken to seven people who reviewed audio from Amazon Echo smart speakers and the Alexa service.

Reviewers typically transcribed and annotated voice clips to help improve Amazon's speech recognition systems.

.....


https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-47893082

Aye, I read this the other day... and this is what I alluded to in earlier posts; if there's some grey area in some darkened corner of the room, we're humans, we're going turn it black and white. While these are 'queries' - in essence, information that folk willingly give - I'm sure there wasn't an explicit section in the small print or T&C's that stated that their data would be used in this way.

The way the packet is framed, it appears it is just workers goofing off and having a laugh at some of the requests... or at least, that is the framing of the articles that I read.

I still can't believe that folk not only pay for these devices, but actually use them... with that in mind, haha, perhaps they should be laughed at by employees of the big three.

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Offline rob1966

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Amazon, Apple and Google all employ staff who listen to customer voice recordings from their smart speakers and voice assistant apps.

News site Bloomberg highlighted the topic after speaking to Amazon staff who "reviewed" Alexa recordings.

All three companies say voice recordings are occasionally reviewed by humans to improve speech recognition.

But the reaction to the Bloomberg article suggests many customers are unaware that humans may be listening.

The news site said it had spoken to seven people who reviewed audio from Amazon Echo smart speakers and the Alexa service.

Reviewers typically transcribed and annotated voice clips to help improve Amazon's speech recognition systems.

.....


https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-47893082

Google used to be shite at recognising my voice, I'd say "Call home" and the reply would be "Do you want to play Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd", so I stopped using voice dialling. Then last year it suddenly always understands what I say.

Google now specifically asks can it record your voice for improving voice recognition.