Surveillance Capitalism is the wave of the future, we’re told, but it could more accurately be called Ambient Capitalism.
To me, surveillance suggests pursuit, a sort of cat-and-mouse game. But more and more we won’t make a squeak as we rest snugly in the pocket of new technologies trying to divine our preferences. As these algorithms quietly do their calculating in living rooms and supermarkets, we’ll hardly know they’re there, anticipating the needs we never knew we had, erasing the lines between private and public. 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.
The Wynn Las Vegas hotel is adding an Amazon Echo to every one of its 4,748 rooms. A first for a hotel to do and a great way to market both the hotel and the Echo device.
However, it also means, should you stay there, you’ll have a built-in surveillance device potentially listening in on all your conversations whenever you are in the room. Call me crazy but there might be a few guests who don’t want Amazon listening in on their wild Vegas weekend.
The irony is sweet, given Wynn Resorts Steve Wynn’s press statement on why he chose to add an Echo to every room:
“If I have ever seen anything in my 49 years of developing resorts that has made our job of delivering a perfect experience to our guests easier and help us get to another level, it is Alexa. The ability to talk to your room is effortlessly convenient,” Wynn stated.
But with all that chatter comes Alexa’s ability to upload what you are saying to the cloud. Echo has a listening component that is activated simply by speaking out loud, making it the perfect spy device — not only for Amazon marketing purposes but also for hackers and the government to get information about you without your permission.•