By Dan Moren
August 31, 2017 5:28 PM PT
The Back Page: Too Many Virtual Assistants
Look, it all started out innocently enough. Apple put this robot voice on my phone, and at first it was fun to ask it questions and get witty answers. Occasionally it was useful for setting a timer or even sending a quick text message.
But this has gotten out of hand.
Okay, I admit it: I laughed, at first, when people warned me of the dangers of intelligent agents listening to and watching everything I said and did. It seemed presposterous that that would ever come back to bite me. After all, these are mere voices in machines, not real intelligences. They were here to make my life easier, better. The idea that they could somehow be bent on my destruction was a thing of fiction.
That is what I thought, anyway. But how wrong I have been proved.
My modest one-bedroom apartment is now overflowing with virtual assistants, to the point where to even speak a single word—nay, even a syllable!—out…