Published On: Thu, May 23rd, 2019

New Tech Could Let Alexa Listen Before You Even Say Her Name

Alexa may be eavesdropping a little longer if new Amazon technology is developed.

The e-retail giant has filed a patent application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office describing a technology to allow the Echo and other Alexa-enabled devices to capture what you say before a so-called wake word – like “Alexa” – is even spoken, BuzzFeed News reported Thursday.

Alexa devices currently only record and send audio to Amazon servers if a wake word is detected. If Amazon decides to develop or implement the technology, an Alexa-enabled device would constantly record and delete what’s being said, using the device’s local memory storage, BuzzFeed reported.

The way it works is after a wake word is detected, Alexa may “look backwards” to determine if the command came before the wake word, and use pauses in speech to identify the beginning of the command. The idea is similar to Apple’s Live Photos technology that captures 1.5 seconds before and after the camera shutter is pressed, BuzzFeed reported.

The application notes that the design ensures not all captured speech is sent to Amazon, “thus addressing privacy concerns associated with an ‘always-on’ speech processing system.”

Still, the technology means Alexa devices will be recording more conversations and more audio, including speech it thinks are commands, BuzzFeed reported.

“The technology in this patent is not in use, and referring to the potential use of patents is highly speculative,” a spokesperson for Amazon told BuzzFeed, adding many patent applications don’t wind up in products.

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Newsmax – Science and Technology

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New Tech Could Let Alexa Listen Before You Even Say Her Name