Ever wondered if those smart speakers–the ones you talk to and they respond–record any of your conversations? The technological ability is there! What conversations would you prefer not go public?
“Tech On the Wall ,” by Joseth Moore. Inkitt. Copyright @ 2018.
“Debbie, list articles on the Supreme Court’s hearings on the tech industry…”
The white pyramidal-shaped device, about the size of a can of soda, flashed its multi-colored lights to indicate that the smart speaker had received the young law student’s command. The device’s “voice” was female in e-gender with an American accent. Melissa Mendoza was seated at the dinner table of her dining room within the small apartment she rented out from downtown Miami. She was trying to complete a term paper for her class on the United States’ Supreme Court. She had gone to Orlando for a family funeral over the last two days and was now having to make up time on her paper for it!
“There are over five million, seven-hundred thousand articles on subjects related to the U.S. Supreme Court and the tech industry… First article—”
“Debbie, stop.” Melissa blew out a frustrated sigh and dropped her hair-cropped head atop her crossed forearms. After a while, she lifted her head up and grabbed her nearby smartphone and started scrolling for any updates from family and friends.
Melissa then checked the news cycle since she had been so engrossed in her paper for the entire day. She ran across an article by a major media journal source about how there had been several lawsuits over the technology industry’s smart speaker devices! She read the article on her phone and began to wonder about her situation.
“Debbie…” Melissa almost felt silly that she was embarrassed about talking sensitive subjects with a piece of technology! “Play back my conversation with Tyson.”
Melissa wasn’t sure if smart speaker tech had such features. She had heard about it before, but the article she had just read verified it was true.
“Playing latest conversation with Tyson,” the device spoke.
Melissa heard her voice and that of her, now, ex-boy friend from a few days ago. The quality of the recording was sharp, but given that people move around a lot within their homes, it wasn’t perfect. But that was not what was bothering Melissa…
“Debbie, stop!” The recorded argument ceased and left an eerie silence in Melissa’s dining room. As with so many humans, she unconsciously walked up to the triangular device as if talking with another human being. Confusion was on Melissa’s face. “Debbie, how many conversations are there of Tyson and I?”
“There are over five conversations recorded with Tyson. One with Melissa and four others.”
Now that wasn’t right! Melissa had just bought the smart speaker nearly two weeks ago, and there was only one conversation that Melissa had with her then-boyfriend in the apartment since purchasing the device!
University term paper long-forgotten now, Melissa’s mind was reeling! “Debbie…play all conversations of Tyson without Melissa!”
“Playing all conversations of Tyson without Melissa… ‘Hey, Paul, when are you coming over? I don’t have that much time before she comes back!’ ” It was Tyson’s voice. He was apparently on his phone talking with someone that Melissa had never heard of in her ex-boyfriend’s life. “ ‘Yeah, bring her, too! Melissa usually get’s here around six…don’t worry about it; I told you I sold all that! But you better make sure you take your bag out of your car in case the cops stop you on the road, dude! Ha-ha! Yeah, I was—’ ”
“Debbie, stop!” Melissa felt there was something off about Tyson, but she had no idea that he was selling drugs! Was there more to him? Usually, hard-core drug culture had other drama associated with it. “Debbie, play next recorded conversation with Tyson.”
“Playing next recorded conversation with Tyson…” This recording was different. There were several other people’s voices in it with Tyson’s. A party in Melissa’s apartment on a day she was out of town; without Tyson telling her? But within the hoard of other voices, Tyson’s stuck out to Melissa. “ ‘Hey, just let it go, dude…I told you I don’t have it! And I tell you what; the next time you threaten me, it’ll be the last thing you—’ ”
“Debbie, stop!” Silence. “Debbie, what was the day of the second recording of Tyson you played?”
Those flashing party lights on the small, white pyramid. “Yesterday; six thirty-nine pm.”
“Yesterday,” Melissa said to herself. Smart speaker tech was such that the smart device would only respond to the user upon the device’s name used first, so there was no response from the pyramid. She thought further. “Debbie, play most recent recording with Tyson!”
“Playing most recent recording with Tyson… ‘You killed Tyson, you idiot! Paul, hurry up and get this place cleaned up before she get’s back from Orlando…no, put him in the garbage barrel…tomorrow’s trash day!’ ”
Melissa had wondered why the trash barrel was so full when she got back to Miami…