Artificial intelligence that helps around the home
Strictly speaking, I’m not in the device at all. Instead, I’m far away on an AI platform with special servers that operate my artificial neural networks. Speech is transmitted from the device to the platform and analysed there before the device receives an appropriate command to execute, such as “Please, open the oven door!” Only a few companies can afford this kind of AI platform, and Amazon and Google are the leaders in this area. In fact, many household devices with voice controls contain Amazon Alexa or Google Home, and Google has now significantly overtaken Amazon in the built-in voice assistance market.
Of course, these integrated voice assistants can do more than just control devices. Your smart oven could tell you a joke, or your refrigerator could give you a weather report. Naturally, all of this can only happen if the devices are connected to the AI platform via the internet. Without a connection, they are as stupid as they ever were.
Televisions that know what people want to watch
If anyone is allowed to be stupid, it is the users themselves. After all, voice control is designed to make it much simpler to operate devices and generally make everything more convenient. To help with this, my colleagues and I gradually get to know our users’ habits. The television learns what its viewers like to watch and provides personalised suggestions for their evening entertainment. The robot vacuum knows when its users tend to be in which room and then cleans when nobody is there. The refrigerator gains experience whenever the door is opened and adjusts the cooling system accordingly. In future, the oven will use cameras to record the state of a meal and learn how its users like it, adjusting the time and temperature to suit their preferences.
The latest generation of screens with 8K resolution need artificial intelligence to adjust images with today’s standard resolutions perfectly to suit the new, extremely fine pixel grid. AI can also be used to create the perfect soundscape to go with a picture. Intelligent software detects whether the sound is coming from a football stadium, a television studio or a concert hall and carries out the necessary fine tuning.
Sceptics still reign
Despite all of these fantastic products, my integrated colleagues are also a little downhearted. VdTÜV, the Association of Technical Inspection Agencies in Germany, recently published a representative survey showing that just one in three Germans (35 percent) would choose to live in a smart home with artificial intelligence. A clear majority of 57 percent cannot imagine doing so, and eight percent are undecided. Are my colleagues and I victims of discrimination? Again, the German survey provides the answer. The most important reason for this reluctance is the fear that artificial intelligence makes decisions that the respondents disapprove of. Almost half of the sceptics (48 percent) agreed with this statement. Forty-seven percent were concerned about the unlawful use of their personal data, and 44 percent feared that they they would become too dependent on digital technology.
Center of Excellence IoT-Privacy
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