Project Alias

The world is turning into a smart being. We, humans, have made everything smart be it a watch or a speaker. Well, all these smartness comes with a slit edge of mock back. Speaking of smart speakers, it has all good, but have a problem; they occasionally record things they shouldn’t.

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Project Alias Preserves User Privacy

Last year, in May, a woman claimed that her Amazon Echo taped a private conversation and forwarded it to a person she didn’t know. And in December, a technical error resulted in Amazon sending an Alexa user 1,700 audio recordings of a stranger. Well, to guard your privacy a pair of developers have open-sourced a solution that prevents speakers like Google Home from listening in on people within earshot.

Project Alias

Bjørn Karmann and Tore Knudsen’s Project Alias takes the form of 3D-printed housing that attaches to the top of a smart speaker. Inside it, there’s a Raspberry Pi-powered microphone and dual-speaker combo produce white noise that prevents the target speaker from activating.

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Furthermore, an offline voice recognition algorithm trained using TensorFlow disables the static when Alias recognizes a custom wake phrase, allowing anyone who knows the magic words to use it normally.

Project Alias And Privacy

Project Alias won’t nullify privacy concerns about voice assistants anytime soon but will act as a barrier in free transmission of user privacy. Amazon, Google, and others store voice recordings to improve their respective intelligent assistants’ command-parsing abilities, a technological compromise most users aren’t comfortable with.

Project Alias

According to Two surveys — one from PricewaterhouseCooper in April 2018 and a more recent one by Accenture — found that a lack of trust in the makers of AI assistants could become an obstacle to consumer adoption. Can’t deny, but Patent applications filed by Amazon describe voice recognition algorithms capable of analyzing a person’s sentiment, which might inform product recommendations and display advertising.

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Well, both Google and Amazon say they take privacy seriously and don’t use voice recordings for targeted advertising. But one thing is certain; with tens of millions of smart speakers sold worldwide and voice shopping expected to hit $40 billion by 2022 in the U.S. alone, a future filled with voice-analyzing smart speakers is fast becoming a reality.


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