Monday, December 3, 2018

Google and the End of Your Private Homelife

For people that are too lazy to write out a shopping list, actually check their calendar, call to book a restaurant table, get out of bed or wait until they get home to turn on the coffee maker or turn on an oven, we have this:

...and this:

As if this amount of so-called smart technology weren't invasive enough and just in case you wanted to stay ahead of your neighbours, Google has recently patented a smart-home automated system that has the capability to eavesdrop on your entire life at home.

Patent Number US 10,114,351 B2 dated October 30, 2018 is for a "Smart-Home Automation System That Suggests or Automatically Implements Selected Household Policies Based on Sensed Observations" or, as Google puts it "Privacy-Aware personalized content for the smart home".

Here is the abstract and rather technical description of the system:

Here is the schematic of the system:

Here is a schematic showing how audio can be monitored throughout a house and a potential application (i.e. front door will be locked if the system detects that "Sydney" is home alone)

Here is another schematic and flow diagram showing how the system can track and monitor television usage in a household:

Here is a schematic (28) showing how the system can monitor activities taking place in the household's kitchen area:

It will even go so far as to detect what occurs in the household bathrooms as shown here: 

In the patent document, it states that the system can preserve personal privacy while an occupant is using the bathroom however, it can be used to monitor electrical and water consumption and attribute water consumption to a particular water-based application (i.e. sink, toilet, bathtub, shower etcetera).  It can also be used to track the time spent brushing one's teeth through the use of both audio and video signatures.

It will also detect behaviours which are classified as "inferred activities":

According to this figure, child mischief can be detected using audio, video or infrared monitoring.  In some cases, low-level audio signatures (whispering or silence) during active periods can be used to infer that mischief is occurring.  Here is a quote from the patent document:

The system can be used to track the activities of children in the household.  It can track all of a child's activities and display them in a pie chart as shown here:

It can also track what activities that involve the use of "undesirable substances" as shown here:

...and reward desired behaviour:

The system will also be able to monitor the emotional state of the occupants of a household as shown in this flow diagram:

Using both audio signatures and optical indicators as well as infrared information such as body temperature, the system will be able to infer whether the occupants are happy or sad.

Keeping in mind that Google's business model/ecosystem is built on advertising and if all that I have shown you in this posting weren't intrusive enough, here is a description of one of the capabilities of its system that you may find a bit alarming:

For example, the smart video camera may use OCR to ascertain that the book on the user's bedside table is titled “The Godfather.” The smart video camera may send this object data to the client device, which, in the depicted embodiment, may be a portable electronic device, such as a tablet, smartphone, laptop, etc.

Based at least on the received object data related to the book, scores assigned by the servers  to each piece of content provided in the set of content, or both, the portable computing device may rescore each piece of content to provide higher scores to content more relevant to the user's preferences. As a result, the portable computing device may select a TV/movie recommendation that received a high score in view of the information related to the book. For example, the following recommendation may be displayed, “I noticed you have a copy of ‘The Godfather’ by your bed. The movie based on this novel is showing tonight at 9:30 PM on channel 5.”

As may be appreciated, the sensing devices may be any other suitable smart device previously discussed that includes one or more sensors and is enabled to discern a property of people and/or data. For example, another sensing device may include a home robot. The robot may be equipped with at least one sensor (e.g., camera), processor, memory, and network interface, as discussed above. While performing its house chores, the robot may recognize objects (e.g., guitars, basketballs, books, food, etc.) and/or people. For example, the robot may recognize a guitar in the user's home and the client device may use this data to display a guitar-related advertisement. Further, the robot may recognize the people in the house (e.g., using facial recognition software) and send their ID and/or properties (gender, age, appearance, voice) to the client device. Such data may be available, for example, to robots that serve meals to family members according to their preferences because these robots may recognize specific family members based on their appearance and voice.

In another example, a sensing device and/or client device may recognize a tee-shirt on a floor of the user's closet and recognize the face on the tee-shirt to be that of Will Smith. In addition, the client device may determine from browser search history that the user has searched for Will Smith recently. Accordingly, the client device may use the object data and the search history in combination to provide a movie recommendation that displays, “You seem to like Will Smith. His new movie is playing in a theater near you.”

Thanks to this proposed technology by Google, it is extremely clear that George Orwell was one of the most prescient men of the twentieth century.  Since most of us have willingly surrendered our private lives to the snooping minds who control technology and are quite enchanted with the idea of turning lights on and off and locking and unlocking our doors with smart technology, it is not a huge leap to think that Google's all-encompassing smart home will be a reality at some point in the near future and that we will be leaving the thinking up to a machine in the hands of someone that cannot be trusted given this:

1 comment:

  1. More BS technology. Advanced technology is developed in other countries by educated people, not Google Schmuggs who are only interested in Benjamins and how to control and exploit populations.