Science and Tech


Voice-Sensitive Tech Dominated CES — Even With Its Security Drawbacks

Manufacturers are betting consumers want more voice-activated tech, despite the privacy and security concerns that still exist.
Posted at 5:19 PM, Jan 12, 2018

Amazon's Alexa and Google's Assistant are just a few years old, and this year's CES proved their parent companies are still fighting over every inch of the voice-assistant market.

There are interesting new battlegrounds: Toyota vehicleswindow blindseyeglasses — even our toilets. It's getting easier than ever to control every mundane appliance and task around you with the voice assistant of your choice — but an ever-smarter home still comes with compromises.

It will cost you some privacy. Some digital assistants are designed to record conversations triggered by specific keywords. That data can be sent back to the parent company's server, where it's not always clear what happens to it. In the past, one model of smart speaker broke and recorded every sound in range.

And the market for smart devices is exploding, even with warnings that "the internet of things" is notoriously insecure. Hackers have exploited the rise of poorly maintained smart devices for attacks that slow down whole chunks of the internet. Experts expect as more devices come online, the threat they pose will likely grow.

But as we've seen at CES, manufacturers think the market is hungry for more smart stuff. It's up to the consumer to decide if perks like a voice-activated toilet seat are worth the risk.