The Era of Ubiquitous Listening Dawns  

Posted by Big Gav in

Technology Review has an update on the ever advancing state of technology for personal surveillance devices - The Era of Ubiquitous Listening Dawns’. George Orwell would be so impressed at how far the telescreen has come.

The Moto X, the new smartphone from Google’s Motorola Mobility, might be remembered best someday for helping to usher in the era of ubiquitous listening. Unlike earlier phones, the Moto X includes two low-power chips whose only function is to process data from a microphone and other sensors—without tapping the main processor and draining the battery.

This is a big endorsement of the idea that phones could serve you better if they did more to figure out what is going on (see “Motorola Reveals First Google-Era Phone”). For instance, you might say “OK Google Now” to activate Google’s intelligent assistant software, rather than having to first tap the screen or press buttons to get an audio-processing function up and running.

This brings us closer to having phones that continually monitor their auditory environment to detect the phone owner’s voice, discern what room or other setting the phone is in, or pick up other clues from background noise. Such capacities make it possible for software to detect your moods, know when you are talking and not to disturb you, and perhaps someday keep a running record of everything you hear.

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