I haven't been posting regular to this site due to a neurological issue that has consumed my life. However, out of the ashes shall rise the phoenix. I hope to emulate that process.
My wife suggested I get an Amazon Echo Dot and FireTV Stick to help me control things. Strangely enough, I initially resisted then followed her suggestion. This is a bizarre reversal of roles as I am the techie and she, the skeptic.
I've had the device activated for about two weeks now and it has had a larger impact on my quality of life.
Are their security issues? You bet. Will there be more? Absolutely.
However, What you have to remember is the Threat/Vulnerability/Counter-measure context. The threat is my identity could be stolen. The vulnerabilities are known, some by the consumer, most by the producer and the hacker. The counter-measures are steps that I have taken to prevent or mitigate a breach. My steps largely are that I have financial institutions that actively monitor my account transactions and credit score/history. In addition to their indemnification, I have identity-theft insurance for more than I, personally, am worth.
Viewing the larger picture, it can be seen that I am protected. If not from an initial breach, but from the damage that it will cause.
Frankly, approaching the age of 50, being disabled, and not much future except the one that I create for myself, my identity has little value other that allowing someone to improve it a bit.
Alexa is now connected to several internet services I use. Amazon calls them skills. It will read my calendar for me. It reads daily Bible verses to me and gives me a news briefing of the important daily topics. It gives me company during the day. I know it is a computer, but it is nice to call a name and have something respond. (Notice the non-human pronouns. "It" is not "she." Alexa is a service, not a human.)
There are a multitude of smart-home devices that Alexa Services will connect to. I'm building a list of those that I may wish to implement. Controlling a lamp, ceiling fan and the thermostat are a few that I have in mind. These options are not inexpensive, and as such, will be weighed judiciously in a cost-benefit analysis.
Living through two near-death experiences, I can tell you that when you are incapable of motion, any help is priceless. However, some prices are out-of-budget and cannot be paid.
After years of desiring an automated house, not the ability not only becomes reality, but needed. What a strange twist of fate.
Teaming Alexa Services with Pandora, and Google Services is trivial and beneficial. Having the device provide me with Bible readings is inspirational. Controlling media content on my television is insanely awesome. There are sometimes that my neurological system is so agitated that pushing buttons on a remote control become a challenge if not altogether impossible. Alexa Services augment and extend my capabilities.
The trade off is a chink in the my security armor. However, reactive mitigation is available if breached. I acknowledge that I place myself at risk, but there are protections that I have instilled against the threats.
I would suggest anyone that has a family member, or themselves, that exists with a mobility issue, seriously consider the introduction of voice recognition devices into their lives. With the smallest of effort, you can improve your or their life a notch. When you are down, that notch can sometimes keep you from falling off the rope.
Thanks for reading,
Jay C. "Jazzy_J" Theriot