For those who have heard of Aldous Huxley and perhaps have read his most popular novel, Brave New World, the idea of the advancement in technology taking over society might sound familiar. Anyone who owns a Samsung Smart TV that features a voice command option may very well be living Huxley’s prediction.
Samsung’s smart TV’s offer a voice command application that essentially translates speech into text.
Samsung states in the fine print that with the voice command option turned on, it could record your living room conversations, or essentially anything said within distance of the recording remote. The voice commands are recorded, sent to a third party in search of what was requested, researched for results and then sent back to the TV. But what Samsung forgets to mention is that those commands are stored in a database of said third parties.
Speaking into your remote and telling it what you want to watch is very modern. However, the convenience of using a voice command application on a remote to search for television shows and movies does not make it acceptable for Samsung or any third parties to have access to a user’s privacy. Whether or not that was the intention while the device was being engineered, the use of television commands being used for third parties research is deceitful.
Huxley focused on the relationship between technology and science but he also made observations about consumer society. Huxley proposed that society would turn into something where the economic values consist of an individual’s needs being satisfied.
Huxley was right; our economic values revolve around our own particular needs. We are highly concerned with how technological advances help our personal convenience. However, exercising our right to use technology does not authorize third parties to use our private information.
A simple solution for those who do not want to be recorded is to turn off the voice command application in the settings menu. But those who are more concerned with speaking what they want to watch rather than pressing the button on a remote should still be reassured their personal information is being kept private.
Today’s electronics offer much more than they did in the past; color, Wi-Fi, even a remote so you don’t have to get off your couch to change the channel.Sure, giving voice commands to a recording device is of someones own free will. But, to what extent should that recording be used? It should be used to search television shows or movie suggestions and end there. Samsung should neither provide nor sell their customers’ requests to third parties to use for their own marketing.
To clarify , a smart TV will not turn on in the middle of the night to record your conversation and sell it back to third parties. The issue is that third parties can keep the recordings and with what those third parties decide to do with our information we willingly record when we say our voice commands.
Changing the channel on a television set has advanced over the years from walking to the set to sitting back in a chair and speaking into the remote what you want to watch. Todays obsession with watching TV and love for advancement in technology is possibly taking control of our lives, using our personal information we give willingly. In that case, Aldous Huxley seems to have known what he was talking about.