“This Voice Activation Revolution Is Even Bigger”

In his post “Apple Doesn’t Hear The Echo,” media analyst Bob Lefsetz is right to say voice is set to become a huge industry and that Apple, despite its head start with Siri, has been shouted down (at least for now) by Amazon’s Alexa personal-assistant technology.

But that’s all business as usual: A new tool emerges, one company outdoes another. Same old.

What’s more interesting is that Lefsetz writes adoringly about voice allowing for a seamlessness that will require almost no effort on our part. Something–some thing--will always be listening to us, prepared to satisfy our every need. It will unobtrusively reward a laziness of mind as well as body. That’s vital, because as voice and the Internet of Things become ambient accessories to our lives, surveillance capitalism will have fully triumphed. And, no, we won’t ultimately always be able to control the “listeners.”

It will be the final shift from a world in which we were primarily citizens to one where we’re chiefly consumers. We’ll have fully been eased inside the machine.

An excerpt:

Echo is the dream we’ve been waiting for. The one we’ve given up hope on arriving. One wherein you talk to your computer, as opposed to typing in entries.

We’ve lived through the video revolution. All that news about Facebook focusing on the moving image?

This voice activation revolution is even bigger.

It’s not just a reduction of steps, it’s a change in conception.

Oftentimes I think of a song but don’t play it. Because to get to the computer and find my music program and type it in…

Takes too much time.

But to just think of a track and blurt out its name and hear it right away?

It’s utterly fascinating.•