No, It’s not, OK Google

My physical commute is easy, a cup of coffee from the kitchen, 7-second walk, sit at my desk. On the other hand, my mental commute is brutal. Each day I travel 3 years into the future and back again. It’s the only way I can stay on top of tech trends for my clients.

Yesterday I was part of the global audience who experienced Google I/O, the annual developer conference. Sundar Pichai, Google CEO, mentioned that over one million people in China were tuned in.

It was your typical Tech Con carnival, cool cutting-edge music with people waving their hands in the air. The musicians, not the audience. Soothing keynote segments from company execs using conference-speak to help us relax and enjoy the ride to 1984. How do we access this magical world of info everywhere?  All we have to say within earshot of a Google device is, “OK Google”.

No, it’s not OK Google

Google Assistant will be standing by to help you find relevant information instantly. It’s the standing-by part that concerns me. Allo is a chat app that integrates Google’s new artificial intelligence application, Assistant. During conversations, however, “Google is listening and ready to make suggestions,” said Erik Kay, director of engineering for communication products. “It’s an ambient experience so it’s there when you need it.” – Quartz

Right. It’s ambient. Nothing to worry about…

And about that phrase Artificial Intelligence. The mention above comes from the Quartz article covering the event, not from the event speakers. They used the term Machine Learning. According to Monica Anderson, Founder of Syntience Inc., an AI research company in Silicon Valley, “Machine Learning is the only kind of AI there is.” Why did they avoid the term, AI?

Google Home

This Amazon Echo killer creeped me out the most. “It will deliver rich bass and clear highs all from a beautiful compact form factor,” said vice president of product management Mario Queiroz. At first look it reminded me of a Renuzit Adjustable Cone Air-freshener.

My next thought was the viewing devices first seen in the film “1984”. Mr. Queiroz when on to say, “Further in the future we’ll work with developers to make it possible to control things beyond the home…”

But first, they want to control things in the home?

Amazing future, or creep-fest? During the recent political primary season the term, “Lesser of Two Evils” appeared frequently. Since tech giants are beyond the control of governments, I’m not sure it matters if Google, Apple, Amazon or the NSA who are,“listening and ready to make suggestions,”. Especially when it comes to my bedroom conversations.

When it was all over I found myself asking, “Where is the off button?” We’ve experienced the impact when governments tell us they know best. Now we have to go through this with Google?

Visit the resources below learn more about the product announcements and what they mean to both your privacy and security. God help us all.

Quartz – Everything Google Announced at I/O.

The Verve – What it all means from, Mossberg, Dzieza and Byford.

Quora –  Monica Anderson on the difference between Machine Learning and AI.