Siri on the ReSound Linx Quattro smart hearing aid a first for AI voice control


I’ve thought about that myself. My two thoughts so far are: 1) it’s a security feature - that by processing the request in the cloud, the OEM can better guard against a compromise of the system involved, and 2) if the request goes to the cloud, the OEM gets to know more about your use of the device, your patterns of behavior

The feedback from device use can have privacy concerns but I remember reading quite a while ago what a godsend manufacturers find in user feedback on item use. In the good ol’ days, a device would just be manufactured, shipped out the door, and the manufacturer would learn very little about how it’s actually used. Same with software products. Now with the Internet a manufacturer can collect tons of data on how a device or piece of software is actually used (usually by opt-in of the user to help future product development, better kills bugs, etc.).

I have worried a little that some bad guy has access over the Internet to some of the use feedback, learns when we’re typically not home, robs the house, etc. And with Alexa, I’ve had the hilarious situation, that the wrong combination of words caused her to call my neighbor’s son on his cell phone in the middle of the night. We didn’t even realize what we’d accidentally done until we heard the cell phone ringing through the Alexa speakers, as he tries to answer (and wake up), I’m saying, “Alexa, hang up” and trying all the different words I can imagine will tell her to stop but the sound of his voice over my speakers is competing with mine. I didn’t even realize who we’d managed to accidentally call until I went to the Alexa app, looked up the name and number Alexa decided to call.


The other issue is when the supporting cloud service for your system is discontinued you are forced into a change. That already happened when Samsung bought SmartThings. People had to rewrite some of their version 1 routines to work with the version 2 cloud infrastructure.


Great post! The video actually activated my own Google Home at one point.

Right now, I wouldn’t say that any ambient AI assistant provides much “companionshp” but with chatbots that Microsoft and others have experimented with, one can see that an intelligent conversationalist for lonely isolated seniors is another possibility for these devices in the (distant?) future. And if you’re hard of hearing, you’ll at least need your HA’s to be able to converse, let alone make any requests of one’s AI buddies.

One of my favorite most recent scary sci-fi futuristic visions is the movie HER with Joaquin Phoenix as a lonely troubled man who falls in love with the AI assistant/companion Samantha on his phone (represented by the lovely voice of Scarlett Johansson). Before I saw the movie, I thought, “What a dumb idea to make a whole movie about! How can they possibly pull it off.” But it really is a great, makes-you-think movie (perhaps a little vulgar at points).

Going a bit further off-topic here, a similar more horrific movie about human emotions lead astray by AI is the movie Ex Machina, which embodies everyone’s worst fears about mankind’s future with AI.

In the Microsoft course on Artificial Intelligence available at the educational site, there is a module on law and ethics as related to artificial intelligence. The lecturer says that ideally all AI should be eXplainable (XAI). But some AI is not founded on any starting premises, is so complex it can’t be deconstructed, and so, hopefully, is at least Governable (GAI) - humans can set the bounds of allowable behavior and it will follow those bounds (kinda like we hope to govern human behavior now where individual humans are “black boxes,” too).

YouTube (XAI - The Issues)

YouTube (XAI or GAI?)


Actually, a third far more important reason for going to the cloud is to control devices from outside the home (duh to me!). You want to be able to interact with devices when you are away from home. If a device/hub doesn’t check in with the cloud, it won’t know you’re making a request from outside your home, and again, a cloud server for a phone app serves as a better secure middleman than just letting phone apps from outside access your LAN directly, I would think. Takes the onus off the device at home for verifying the outside request is authentic, etc., and puts the responsibility on a far more sophisticated cloud device whose logic and security can be constantly and instantly updated as circumstances merit.

My wife ordered something from Amazon and it got scheduled to be delivered unexpectedly on a Saturday morning when we were out of town. We were actually zooming into Austin, TX at 70 mph on I-35 when our doorbell rang. The wife answered the doorbell with her iPhone, chatted with the delivery person, and asked her to leave the package with our neighbor. Since the doorbell video cam is aimed in the neighbor’s direction, the wife could see the delivery person hand off the package to the neighbor next door and we could relax knowing a several hundred dollar package wouldn’t be sitting on our front doorstep all day long while we were gone. The feeling of seeing and chatting with a person standing by our front door while zooming through space at 70 mph one hundred miles away was surreal.

So it’s very handy to be able to access your home network devices through the cloud sometimes and it would be great if I could answer the doorbell myself through my HA’s and Phone Clip+ while driving if I didn’t have a passenger to do it for me.


Some of the ones with local control have bridges to cloud service for mobile access but they will still work if the cloud service is unavailable.
Vera sets up a secure tunnel to access your hub. OpenHAB and Home Assistant do something similar, I believe. SmartThings is still very dependent on the cloud services for most things.