back to article Talk down to Siri like it's a mere servant – your safety demands it

In the middle of the night, the 83-year-old woman received a call. A caller identifying himself as a policeman angrily reported that her grandson – identified by name – had landed in jail. He'd hit a policeman while driving and TXTing. The policeman said they needed $4,000 in bail – immediately. The old woman hung up, but the …

Gold badge
Happy

Re: What to do with an Echo?

Too light for a paperweight. Too small and too light for a bookend. Too small for a frisbee - plus not much lift.

Ice hockey puck?

Aspirin for elephants?

Cupcake stand?

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Re: What to do with an Echo?

Trap shooting.

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I have a thick Aussie accent that even some Aussies don't understand, haven't had much luck getting voice recognition to work. So if I ever was foolish enough to use one of these spy devices, I'd have to use a different voice just so it could work.

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Anonymous Coward

Goodonyamate

Hop in the HQ, drive into the bottle-o and get me a slab of VB!

Ya old bastard.

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Re: Goodonyamate

My parents told me I was conceived in the back seat of a Holden somewhere in Melbourne, I didn't ask for more information.

"Ya old bastard."

The one bit of information I figured out for myself, is that said conception was several months before their marriage, so I'm only half a bastard.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Goodonyamate

"Ya old bastard."

A term with many meanings.

A person of any age, but probably male.

Used for:

  • Endearment
  • Slander
  • Outrage
  • Mateship
  • Trust
  • Fighting
  • Compliment
  • Jealousy
  • Admiration

etc...

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How about...

...Don't talk to Siri, at all?

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Bad news for those of us who willingly put our voices out into the world, I guess. Or at least we need to start giving our families some kind of codeword to indicate we are for real. Even if this is, as yet, not something anyone has seen in the wild it's a fairly dystopian concept.

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Silver badge
Big Brother

Program for a Puppet

Program for a Puppet by Roland Perry

I still have my copy, from the year it was published.

I'm thinking some people had this before Adobe.

Things such as Echo, Siri etc ought to need to be certified and it should be illegal to store the users voice as "cloudy" databases are rarely always secure. TVs and Toys etc sending voice outside the user's premises should be illegal.

Years ago we had voice control and recognition without "sending it to the cloud". We have gone backwards because Google, MS, Apple, Amazon wants to monetize our private lives.

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Re: Program for a Puppet

Years ago we had voice control and recognition without "sending it to the cloud". We have gone backwards because Google, MS, Apple, Amazon wants to monetize our private lives.

Well, if you were prepared to spend the time training the voice recognition with activities like reading 'Alice and Wonderland' to your computer (IBM Voice assist (I think)).

Most people aren't patient enough, so Google et all get away with packing your speech off to their servers to process and collect useful? data.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Program for a Puppet

AFAIK, SIRI does most its work locally but I agree with you about storing the voice print should be illegal.

I don't and never will use any of them so for me it isn't a problem.

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Re: Program for a Puppet

"reading 'Alice and Wonderland' to your computer (IBM Voice assist (I think))."

Dragon Dictate, I think. That and a similar Philips product saved my business when I had serious RSI.

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Silver badge

Non issue

"What deepfake is to video, Adobe VoCo – its "Photoshop for audio" – does for speech."

So this isn't an issue then. I've seen these so called deepfakes and the video neither looked like the actress it was supposed to be nor did it look like a genuine video. If Adobe VoCo is as good it probably makes speech that is supposed to sound like Joe Pasquale sound like James Earl Jones.

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... the big players will take all the right steps to ensure what's said in the home stays in the home...

Yeah, sure... Stays in whose home?!

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The "ore" scam

In Japan this is known as the "ore" (it's me!) scam.

People who defraud seniors should get the death penalty.

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FAIL

A friend of mine...

...received one of these calls "from" one of his friends, who needed bail money.

He replied "I'll get it right out to you. Just tell me the name of the show we co-starred in when we were in High School"

The call terminated shortly thereafter.

His final comment: "You know, you should get an honest job"

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A picture/video is no longer proof positive and people actually hold conversations with their household appliances; my how we have devolved.

Then only thing under voice control in my house is my dogs and even that is questionable sometimes. My kids can only be managed with router config tricks...

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Anonymous Coward

Saying Yes is a problem...

How many of us have received a call that starts out "This is "insert name" from the "insert company name" - usually warranty or returns or refund department...Can you hear me?"

What's your first response? Usually "Yes" - and you've been had because now they have your "yes" for any account they may have access to.

I hate and avoid saying "yes" to any caller even if I know the person - I've frustrated a few scammer (Just for the heck of it after I've accidentally answered a call I didn't recognize) by saying something like "oh" and waiting for their next statements which usually leads to them saying something rude before I hang up on them. BTW - I don't do this too often because it encourages them and I NEVER do this on my cell/mobile phone!

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GBE

For those of us who never had servants...

... adopt a different vocal register when talking to voice assistants, something analogous to the register one might have used 100 years ago when communicating with staff "below stairs".

I found that bit very interesting, but was hoping there might be links to further information for the benefit of those of us who grew up in the wrong century, in the wrong class, and on the wrong continent.

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Don't necessarily need voice fakery against an 83 year old

The reason the scamsters like targeting the very old is because their mental faculties aren't what they used to be. Not talking about senility, just generally more gullible and easier to fool (not all, but many)

You wouldn't need the right voice, heck in some cases you wouldn't even need the name "I'm your grandson, I called you because I was afraid of what my dad might say if he found out. This is my only phone call and they say I have to get off right now if you aren't going to come up with the bail money, please help me!"

There was a statement from the police in our local news that someone had tried this locally against a couple elderly folks, and they were able to trace the call a VOIP service so they have no idea if it even originated in the US. Luckily the scamsters picked the wrong people, or at least those wrong people called the police - they didn't have a grandson! Others might have been fooled and sent them money, and would probably be too embarrassed to call the cops after they figured it out.

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Marketing Genius

When I first saw the Echo on Amazon I assumed they were giving them away just to generate more income. I thought "there's no way anyone will be stupid enough to get one of these eavesdropping devices".

When I realized that people actually had to PAY to get one I saw the genius in Amazon's thinking. It's like putting an old couch out on the curb with a 'FREE' sign on it. It will sit there until you have to pay to have it hauled away. Put a $50 price tag on it and it will get stolen the first night.

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