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Apparently human staff at Amazon Alexa listen to what people say, even very intimate things (bloomberg.com/news/articles/20).

Alexa uploads your speech to be analysed on Amazon's servers. Siri, Cortana, Bixby etc also do this.

A better alternative is Snips, which doesn't upload your voice anywhere:

makers.snips.ai

github.com/snipsco

You install it on a Raspberry Pi, and access it directly or from your other devices.

(n.b. It's still in beta and requires tech knowledge to set up)

p.s. Also, as far as I can tell, Mycroft still doesn't let people self-host their voice assistant, despite stating their intentions to do so.

@switchingsocial also microsoft's voice assistant is "fine tuned" by humans that don't even work for the company that listen to thousands of recordings with any kind of information from people using it. And it is the same for all voice assistance...

@switchingsocial
Yes, if you read their frequent development updates they are still working on the selfhostable mycroft home server. There is also already a project fork calles jarbasai that makes it not require connecting to outside servers. I believe the creator of jarbasai is working with mycroft on the home server.

@kelbot

So, Snips is still the only option if you want to self-host?

@switchingsocial
I'm not sure. Like I said there is Jarbas AI which makes mycroft all local.

@kelbot Ok, thanks for the info, I'll check out Jarbas too :)

@switchingsocial
That sounds amazing! I almost wish that I didn't find voice-driven "assistants" annoying in almost any situation.
Maybe in the car, for starting navigation, playing podcasts or such things ...

@Mr_Teatime

Yup, plus there are people who do actually need them as useful tools, such as people with disabilities etc.

@switchingsocial
Oh, I was absolutely not trying to imply that I found them useless ... there are certainly good uses for digital assistants. I just find it hard to imagine myself using one outside of situations where I can't use my hands to do something on my phone, and nobody is around who would be annoyed.

@Mr_Teatime

Yeah, they're definitely a matter of individual taste.

I prefer just pressing buttons too.

@switchingsocial it's a wake word or hot word. Means it recognizes only a few words you teached it. Not really the same speech recognition...

@switchingsocial Intrusive corporate surveillance.

Great to have an alternative voice assistant!

@switchingsocial Wait, it's possible to set up Snips (Sniply?) now?!?

YEEHAW!

(Yes, I'm considerably geeky.)

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