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Communication & Networks

Do Siri, Cortana and Alexa have a big brother?

It’s all-too easy to put your trust in voice-based assistance systems. However, SemVox GmbH is skeptical about the data security of black-box solutions such as Apple’s Siri, Google Now, Microsoft's Cortana and Amazon’s Alexa and is exhibiting an alternative at CeBIT 2017.

22 Feb. 2017
Siri Amazon Alexa Black-Box-Lösungen

It's fair enough to wonder why the ever-helpful assistance systems Siri, Cortana and Alexa have female names and speak with female voices. All kinds of answers have been suggested, from the serious and silly to the downright smutty and even sinister... Could it be that an assistant with a deep voice, perhaps referred to casually as "Bro", would remind us all too much of an Orwellian Big Brother? "Hey Bro, you still there?" – "I'm always here!" comes the deep, reverberating response. Would anyone ever feel comfortable asking an ever-present "big brother" about their bank balance? The developers at SemVox GmbH in Saarbrücken certainly wouldn't. What’s more, since they can’t shake the feeling that feminine black-box solutions like Alexa, Siri and Cortana could have a curious big brother lurking in the shadows, they're showcasing a secure alternative at CeBIT 2017.

SemVox ODP S3 is a dialog platform developed on an ontological basis that is designed to leave Big Brother out in the cold. Solutions based on ODP S3 aim to ensure that full control over all parameters stays with SemVox customers. Moreover, they are configured so that this control can be exercised via a cloud, in an embedded system (i.e. local, on the device itself) and on a hybrid basis (i.e. embedded or cloud based, depending on the situation) – all without compromising the quality of the natural interaction and proactive assistance. The aim is to reduce unknowns in terms of technical connections, implementation and the availability of services. Once that has been achieved, it should make no difference whether our assistant is called Siri or Bro – we'll know for sure that long-term security is assured for users and the entire product lifecycle.