I think it's important to have a Free alternative, or people that want to take advantage of this kind of technology will have no options.

"The next great platform shift is underway, and that could be really bad for privacy"

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@mike Personally I'm looking at Julius + eSpeak as a base to build upon.

@alcinnz How is Julius? I looked at it briefly, but didn't take it too seriously because it hasn't seen an update in over 5 years.

@mike Honestly, I don't really know.

So far I've just been getting eSpeak NG working nicely and haven't gotten to Julius yet.

@mike the whole concept of smart speakers makes me really uncomfortable. I’d never own one, I don’t think.

@kev Does a device listening in constantly bother you, or just a device you don't control? If you control everywhere that device goes to and how anonymous that device is with the services it employs, does that still make you feel weird about it?

@mike @kev You can still make accidents or have your visitors trigger actions you don't want. But at least it's not privacy-violating or remotely controllable like current devices.

@mike @kev But personally I don't see the value for now.

@stevenroose How about giving access to all the information available on the Internet to people who have visual handicaps or can't read? Or reducing the learning curve for communicating with technology to a method humans have been employing for thousands upon thousands of years? Or just easing the use of technology for people who have physical handicaps or are just using their hands for something else at the time? I can see lots of value in these devices.


@mike @kev Good points about handicapped or visually impaired people, it most certainly makes sense to build tools for them to have access to the internet and technology.
I'm a little bit weary about ingraining technology even deeper into the lives of the other people, though. I feel like we already have a problem of people being too attached to their devices (read: phones). As with AR glasses etc, tech that is gonna make us even more attached/dependent on tech makes me a bit uncomfortable.

@stevenroose The trick about this kind of technology is that it's actually LESS intrusive than the screens we currently use. Rather than burying their nose in some screen to read the news or look up some fact, they ask an actual question in the language they speak, and they get an answer. Then they go about their business. The aim here is to make the technology we already have more accessible but less obtrusive. Done right, it's virtually invisible.


@mike @kev That we want, can, or see no problem in talking to machines expresses the degree to which our imagination has already been subjugated to and shaped by machines.

@mike: if only i have full control over what it does with what it collects then i will be comfortable with it.

unfortunately, i don't think such FOSS devices is currently available.

@mike a bit of both really mate. I don't like the fact that something is there listening in the background permanently.

@kev @mike Still though, is listening, I believe is too just hides it better and went with it publicly too I think? So in case you own a common device or even have any of apps installed, I'd say it's already late for you.

Also, I think or any other alternative that's not will do the same if they are not already. However, is one of those alternatives worth checking.

@kev Then Mycroft is a great solution for you! The "Picroft" version is compatible with the Google AIY Voice Kit (which is all hardware so don't let the "Google" part throw you off"). Instead of listening all the time, it's got a button that you push when you want to talk to it. Most of the benefits, none of the listening to you all the time.

@mike I don't have any smart devices, but I like this solution using a raspi, mic, and speaker to control what that device can hear.

@blunaxela It's a really interesting solution for people that are interested in owning one of the "big" assistants but are concerned about privacy issues. I might have to get one!

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