Google Just Announced a Real-Life Smart House

Saturday, 21 May 2016 - 11:08AM
Artificial Intelligence
Saturday, 21 May 2016 - 11:08AM
Google Just Announced a Real-Life Smart House
Remember when Disney Channel scared the living daylights out of us with Smart House, their TV movie about a "smart" home that became obsessed with and imprisoned its family (which was, in turn, based on "The Veldt" by Ray Bradbury)? Now, Google is trying to make that a reality (the smart home part, at least), with their new voice-activated technology, Google Home. Google describes the virtual assistant as "always listening," which is probably the single creepiest thing they possibly could have said.

Google Home, which was announced at the I/O 2016 (via Futurism), can be activated when the user speaks the words, "OK, Google," and can change the temperature and lighting, answer questions, check the weather for you, and send texts. It can also sync with Chromecast-compatible devices, and uses Google assistant to check your Google accounts for appointments.


And best of all, it can play music for you by integrating with Spotify, which means you can re-create this iconic scene:

According to Google, the new device uses cutting-edge voice recognition technology to have natural conversations with humans:

Opening quote
"Google Home is unmatched in far-field voice recognition since it's powered by more than ten years of innovation in natural language processing. I can continue the two-way dialogue with the assistant that Sundar [Pichai, chief executive of Google] mentioned earlier, whether I'm standing nearby cooking dinner or sitting across the room playing a game with my daughter," said Google Home's VP of product management, Mario Queiroz.
Closing quote

The fact that the device is "always listening" is disconcerting, since it would essentially mean that Google is always listening, but Google seems to think that's just part of our Brave New World:

"Computing is evolving beyond phones, and people are using it in context across many scenarios, be it in their television, be it in their car, be it something they wear on their wrist or even something much more immersive," said Google chief executive Sundar Pichai.

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