Your phone is listening to you |

Your phone is listening to you

Technology is everywhere. It is all around us. From our phones to our computers, to our watches.

Soon enough our refrigerator will be able to let us know that we are short on beer, or better yet just buy itself what you will need for the next week.

The other day, I was thinking about how much all of the providers, applications, and hardware I use know about my behavior. I am guessing they know a lot.

Considering that we can already have advertisements that are targeted to you based on your interests, search history, demographics and even what you are reading right now on a screen. It is a no brainer that our computers are tracking unbelievable amounts of data about us.

Like a lot of folks, I have a smartphone, laptop, tablet, desktop computer and a smart watch. I use all of these tools at all hours of the day for pretty much everything. I am absolutely reliant on these tools. If you want to see me get frustrated just shut my email off during the workday.

Most of my devices are from Apple and they have a feature where you can say, “Hey Siri,” and it will open up Siri, a virtual assistant, to take your order and to fulfill your commands. It is on my watch and my phone where I mostly use it to set timers, respond to messages and occasionally to get directions when my hands are full.

I was setting a timer for a pot of rice and started wondering what else my watch might be hearing during the day. If it can hear me when I ask for it, it must be listening when I am not using it, right?

If it is listening to me at all times, then Apple probably thinks I am crazy. I talk to myself, especially when driving. My topics range from mulling over story ideas to marketing campaigns and to ideas for the paper. I also talk through current issues and other ideas that I might want to bring up to my staff or family, often to make sure that it sounds like a good idea to myself before I roll it out.

Is that a bad thing? I am not sure.

It does mean that my devices know a lot about me.

Not only does my watch listen to me when I am talking, but it tracks my heart rate, my location and even if I am standing or sitting. The amount of data that these tech companies has on all of us has got to be mind blowing.

In the future, I can see a situation where your phone, or whatever it is we will be using in the next decade, already knows exactly what you are going to ask for based on your location, what you have been doing all day and what you are doing right now.

I am not sure if that is a bad thing or not. It would be nice to just have what you want before you even know you want it. Albeit it would be a little creepy to think that your behavior is being predicted at all times.

From a news perspective we are already starting to see this. With news popping into our social media feeds that fits what we are most likely to want to read. While it helps to generate more clicks and more engagement, are those stories what you really should be reading? We already have an issue where too many people read content that fits their bias, rather than seeking to expand their knowledge.

Our future will undoubtedly be an inreasingly connected world. With more and connections and devices layered into our reality. From self-driving cars to self-brewing coffee pots. We live in an age of data.

What will the future hold, as we continue to move down this line of wearable computers that track every aspect of our bodies, what will this mean in the next decade? Will we find that we are unable to function without having a connection to our devices?

I just hope that what I get is really what I want.

Ben Rogers is the publisher of the Sierra Sun and North Lake Tahoe Bonanza. He can be reached at or by phone at 530-550-2641