I recently spoke to Tara Kelly from Splice Software about the dangers of handing over the keys to your brand’s voice to digital voice assistants such as Amazon Alexa. With voice search being a hot topic, I wanted to explore this topic further, in particular, the increasing privacy concerns that surround this technology.

When I read that the founder of Snips AI wanted to destroy Alexa, I had to get him on my daily tech podcast. Dr. Rand Hindi is an entrepreneur and data scientist. He is also the CEO at Snips, the first decentralized, private by design voice assistant.

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Rand started coding at the age of 10, founded a Social Network at 14 and a web agency at 15 before getting into Machine Learning at 18 and starting a Ph.D. at 21. He has been elected as a TR35 by the MIT Technology Review, as a “30 under 30” by Forbes, and is a lecturer at Sciences Po in Paris.

As a previous member of the French Digital Council where he focused on AI and Privacy issues, Rand is the perfect person to talk to about a subject that already affects everyone listening to this podcast.

Don’t be fooled, the reason Amazon is pushing Alexa is not to help you solve problems with voice. It’s because they want to use Alexa as a massive data aggregator an intermediate platform so that they can know everything people are doing and use this to sell more stuff to you, that’s it

Amazon’s business with Alexa is not to help you, its to target you, it’s to aggregate data about your personal life. As a company, if you use Alexa, you are handing the keys to your users and to your business through data. – Rand Hindi

We discuss the many consumer privacy issues (e.g. government surveillance, hacking) with AI voice assistants like Alexa, which send user data to the cloud. We also explore how and why Snips developed a decentralized AI voice assistant that keeps user data on the device itself so that only you own your data.

Essentially, Snips is a voice platform for connected devices. It enables makers and companies to add a voice assistant to their products. Created in 2013, the vision behind Snips has been to put an AI assistant in every device, making technology so intuitive that it disappears into the background.

What makes Snips unique is that everything runs locally on the device the user is speaking to, meaning no data ever gets sent to the cloud. This guarantees Privacy by Design and resilience to internet outages, making Snips the first ever voice technology to be GDPR compliant.

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If you want to gather around a virtual campfire and have a chat or ask me a question, you can message me, leave a virtual voicemail or even buy your friendly podcast host a coffee.

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