Alexa and other personal assistants are spying, and you may not even realize it. While living in the new millennium offers unparalleled convenience, there may be a price to pay for technological progress. Whether by supernatural, human, or technical means, smart devices can quickly turn against you, turning your life into a live-action horror movie.
When the modern urban landscape is home, it may seem easy to avoid things like haunted ancient burial grounds or chainsaw-wielding masked monsters. However, those terrors hardly compare to the panic derived from an unauthorized funds transfer thanks to a virtual home assistant, Alexa, eavesdropping on some of your most private moments, or the possibility your entire home could turn against you.
Personal assistants like Alexa and Echo have built-in microphones that sometimes unknowingly record interactions at random. While such devices can be muted or turned off outright, Vice reports most consumers don't take advantage of these functions.
Do you use security cameras for home monitoring? If you've linked your cameras to an online account, they can be compromised. So instead of watching for potential intruders, a stranger could be watching you. And if the hacker really wants to spook you, they can even access your lights, your coffee maker, or even your smart locks.
You can't get enough of your smartwatch and hackers can't get enough of stealing your identity through it. Smartwatches contain sensors to track your movements, including those used on a computer keyboard or ATM keypad.
From possessed vehicles like the Plymouth Fury in Stephen King's Christine to the latest self-driving smart cars, the possibility for trouble exists. A smart car could override driver motions and start mowing down pedestrians or veer off-course and into oncoming traffic.
A smart house matches your specifications and knows just what you like and what you don't. Such a luxury might be a good thing - until the system turns on you. If sinister hands took over the house controls, they could abuse everything from the sound system to the lights.
Remember the ex you blocked on social media? You know, the one who wouldn't stop calling your mom? If you have a Ring or Nest camera, it doesn't matter how effectively you cut them off. Your ex can still hack into the system to see if you're home or when you leave, and even watch you sleep.
Home assistants like Alexa can be incredibly helpful, but they can also ruin your life. If you have one of these machines, you've likely linked it to your bank account, credit cards, and personal passwords. If someone hacks into your home assistant, they can use it to deplete your funds or create debt before you even realize you're compromised.
Sentient tech - from the supernatural to a simple system glitch - can take over your life. Films like Cam show the dangers of interacting online (from video recordings to social media), which essentially creates a digital version of you. Sentient tech can use this information to create a version of your life that can be copied and used in any number of ways.
If you're a would-be criminal and possibly have loose lips, then toss your smart TV out the window. Many of these appliances have microphones to capture audio, which can be sent to a third party. Even if you haven't done anything wrong, someone can edit your words into an implicating statement, which is existentially horrifying.
Smart tech is ostensibly designed to be your everything. It offers up your favorite tunes, options to plan activities, and endless apps to pass idle time. You likely spend more time with it than just about anything else. Ensuing heartbreak isn't a far-fetched notion considering how human-like much of tech has become.
Smart beds track your sleep, adjust for comfort, and offer ergonomic support. But imagine lying in bed enjoying a peaceful slumber, and you suddenly become a mattress sandwich. While a smart bed won't necessarily consume you like the bed from Death Bed: The Bed That Eats, it could inadvertently crush you in your sleep. Which one is worse? You decide.
Throughout cinematic history, supernatural entities have commandeered technology to interact with the living. Ghosts have drifted out of television screens and communicated through ham radios. However, with the advent of smart tech, spirits can take over your computer, smartphone, or maybe even your entire smart house.