I never believed that phones are "listening to us" but now I do....

Red

Member
Oct 26, 2017
2,205
Wouldn’t this be incredibly easy to test. Just sit down with some friends and pick random topics to talk about which none of you have any interest in without ever searching for it on your phones and see what happens.

That’s one of the main reasons I don’t believe this because it would be so damn easy for people to find out.
The thing is, this has appeared to happen to people. This thread is full of anecdotes. But by itself, it proves nothing. You don’t get to say “my phone is listening to everything I say” just because you happened to get an ad for the laundry detergent you discussed forgetting at the store the night before. You don’t find confirmation in that one hit, when everything else you say goes by without an appropriate ad.
 

Riversands

Member
Nov 21, 2017
3,774

DrROBschiz

Member
Oct 25, 2017
8,339
Robots are listening always

Of course

Not people. People suck at this shit and dont want to engage in mass surveilance that isn't automated

So unless you are a target or person of interest.... you kind of have nothing to worry about? That said the global implications and abuse of said tech is very real and could continue to pose existential consequences down the line for people in power and society as a whole
 

limerobot

Member
Apr 26, 2019
189
My Amazon echo definitly listened and answered without the wake word yesterday

It said "i think you are talking about the weather, today in XXX it will be sunny" etc
 

LL_Decitrig

Member
Oct 27, 2017
9,833
Sunderland
My Amazon echo definitly listened and answered without the wake word yesterday

It said "i think you are talking about the weather, today in XXX it will be sunny" etc
Check your user agreement and settings.

There have also been a few reports of these smart speaker devices making random pronouncements. I don't think I would want to have one in my home as we all own smartphones anyway, so they're redundant.
 

MrKlaw

Member
Oct 25, 2017
7,270
My Amazon echo definitly listened and answered without the wake word yesterday

It said "i think you are talking about the weather, today in XXX it will be sunny" etc
if you have echo or especially alexa as the wake word it's quite easily fooled by other words forming what it thinks is close enough to the phrase.
 

bionic77

Member
Oct 25, 2017
10,057
I am sure they are listening to some degree and using that information to make money.

But I also think that Google in particular has so much information on everyone that they probably know what you are going to search for before you even do.
 

captive

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,724
Houston
oh, oh i finally have proof of this.

I was running the other day listening to Audible and in my internal monologue I was like oh hey i should look up the heart of a runner vs the heart of a swimmer. And then yesterday it was an ad for "NYT the heart of a runner vs the heart of a swimmer"

They're reading our minds man, they can hear our thoughts, everything.



Seriously though, my samsun galaxy s9+ doesnt even respond to "ok google'
 

Joshbob1985

Member
Jan 12, 2018
191
Wanna know what's fucking scary? A few weeks ago, I was on my HTC Vive playing Rec Room online with my brother who stays in Colorado (I'm in Mississippi). He was using his Oculus Quest. So we're playing online together and talking and the conversation turns to Enter the Dragon, our favorite Bruce Lee film. We start to briefly talk about a character named Bolo, a character who is barely in the film all that much. We continue to play VR for another hour or two.

Fast forward to one day later. I'm browsing the web at work and suddenly, I see one of those ads near the bottom of Yahoo or something, you know...the ones that try to catch your attention with something to make you click on it? The ones that are usually like "Learn how these 3 college students in (insert your state here) made $5,000,000 in 24 hours!". Well this particular ad was about Bolo from Enter the Dragon. It showed a picture of the actor from a scene he graced in Enter the Dragon and the caption said something along the lines of "The actor who played Bolo in Enter the Dragon has not aged well, see what he looks like now!"

I end up calling my brother and telling him about it and he tells me the same exact ad popped up for him too while he was browsing the internet at work. To say I was creeped out at this would be an understatement. Were our VR headsets listening to our conversation the day prior? Were our phones somehow listening to us? There's no WAY that's a coincidence. I'm not buying it.
I've seen the same ad several times recently, but it wasn't spooky for me because I hadn't had any conversations about EtD.
 

Biggersmaller

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,486
Minneapolis
The thing is, this has appeared to happen to people. This thread is full of anecdotes. But by itself, it proves nothing. You don’t get to say “my phone is listening to everything I say” just because you happened to get an ad for the laundry detergent you discussed forgetting at the store the night before. You don’t find confirmation in that one hit, when everything else you say goes by without an appropriate ad.
It’s anecdotal, but I was talking about Chicago all day yesterday. Did not google anything on any device. All Chicago travel ads today.
 

LL_Decitrig

Member
Oct 27, 2017
9,833
Sunderland
It’s anecdotal, but I was talking about Chicago all day yesterday. Did not google anything on any device. All Chicago travel ads today.
Who did you speak to? If you go to any website Google's tracking cookies will tell them. If anybody you spoke to visited a Chicago-related website or even typed the name of the city, and Google knows you know them or are associated with them (you can assume they do by default and you won't often be wrong) you're likely to find yourself automatically selected for targeted ads.

This stuff happens, it's actually a lot more scary than just some AI hearing buzzwords in speech. They know much more about you than they could get from that. Name any given day in the near future, and trackers probably know more about what you'll be doing on that day, where and for how long, than you know yourself.
 

PoppaBK

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,298
More likely it misinterpreted something you said as the wake word. "it's a" can sound a lot like "Alexa" for example. We have the 'boop' turned on for the wake word and our echos will 'boop' fairly regularly due to regular conversation or the TV.
 

AegonSnake

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,587
Last night, i was talking to my wife about AC units. Her phone was off. Locked. She said something about finding A.C repairs and Siri immediately woke up and started looking up results for A.C repairs.

they be listening.
 

Biggersmaller

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,486
Minneapolis
Who did you speak to? If you go to any website Google's tracking cookies will tell them. If anybody you spoke to visited a Chicago-related website or even typed the name of the city, and Google knows you know them or are associated with them (you can assume they do by default and you won't often be wrong) you're likely to find yourself automatically selected for targeted ads.

This stuff happens, it's actually a lot more scary than just some AI hearing buzzwords in speech. They know much more about you than they could get from that. Name any given day in the near future, and trackers probably know more about what you'll be doing on that day, where and for how long, than you know yourself.
Interesting. It was at work in a large group discussion. Not sure what reason people would have to jump on a device and start googling anything Chicago related.

To me, speech-to-text-to-cloud is a very low bandwidth way to data mine. Either way, “they” know.
 

statham

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,782
FloRida
Me and family coming home from trip, in the car I mentioned it would be cool to have a smart thermostat, as we could turn down the temp before we got home. 20 mins. Later I'm getting Instagram ads for them.
 

LL_Decitrig

Member
Oct 27, 2017
9,833
Sunderland
Interesting. It was at work in a large group discussion. Not sure what reason people would have to jump on a device and start googling anything Chicago related.

To me, speech-to-text-to-cloud is a very low bandwidth way to data mine. Either way, “they” know.
It's very inefficient compared to almost every other form of data acquisition. The data is extremely sparse and there are no obvious clues as to which words are most relevant.
 

Owl

Member
Oct 25, 2017
757
California
To the people who keep stating these anecdotal stories, do you really think Google or anyone else would be showing you ads so soon after you talked about something? Like don't you think it would be easily recreatable and have been ousted if they actually mined your speech and immediately use that info for ads even the same day?

Cmon people actually think about this.
 

MrKlaw

Member
Oct 25, 2017
7,270
Last night, i was talking to my wife about AC units. Her phone was off. Locked. She said something about finding A.C repairs and Siri immediately woke up and started looking up results for A.C repairs.

they be listening.
"AC' can sound like 'Hey Siri' - especially if you have the upturned inflection from a question:

"AC? Where are we going to find AC repairs?" = "Hey Siri - where are we going to find AC repairs"
 

Biggersmaller

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,486
Minneapolis
It's very inefficient compared to almost every other form of data acquisition. The data is extremely sparse and there are no obvious clues as to which words are most relevant.
If an algorithm receives a streaming block of text from a single user and “Chicago” is suddenly extremely prevalent - how is that not obvious to any modern platform? How is that more complicated than associating another user’s search?
 

LL_Decitrig

Member
Oct 27, 2017
9,833
Sunderland
If an algorithm receives a streaming block of text from a single user and “Chicago” is suddenly extremely prevalent - how is that not obvious to any modern platform? How is that more complicated than associating another user’s search?
It's more complicated because of the constant scanning of the sound stream. How long would you expect your battery charge to last if your phone always had to run a full voice to text on every noise that hits the microphone? That's a lot more CPU intensive than just looking for a known activation phrase.

And second, they don't need to do it. You, your family and everybody you come into contact with are spewing out masses of metadata like incontinent volcanoes. Times and dates you've been in the same room together, what your business is while you're there, whether they have a known connection to them, lists of common contacts in your phone book and past emails. Every single website you have ever visited and everything you did there. If you use social media, odds are they know more about your own family than you do. They know your mother's porn preferences. And your sister's second boyfriend's father's former wife's taste in curtains. They know where people in your age group and income like to travel. They use this information mostly to target ads.

So as I've remarked before on this thread: if they're listening to your conversations they're doing it the hard way.
 

DJ88

Member
Oct 26, 2017
207
Thread:
“I only talked about a thing and never searched for it, now I get ads for thing! They must be listening!”

Person who works in a related profession:
“Thorough explaination of how you get ads for things without ever looking them up”

Thread:
...


“I just have no idea how they could possibly know besides listening to me!”


I’m not denying tech companies listen to and record conversations. However those recordings simple aren’t used for ad serving purposes. Ad agencies and companies would kill to be able to target users based on audio recordings.

But go ahead, keep believing what you want.