Virtual Assistant?! Use Mycroft!
Technology is amazing! Technology gives us food, technology gives us medicine, technology gives us fast transportation, technology allows us to talk from one side of the world to the other side of the world! Technology, more specifically the internet allowed for the free decentralization of content, of information, of knowledge! It gave birth to a generation like no other ever existed! A generation with easy access to information! A generation that is more united than ever! Technology is amazing... but, like all thing, it's not without its issues...
Privacy! With the increased development in technology, with the growth of technology conglomerates, humans sold out most of their privacy for convenience. We have no privacy nowadays, google and facebook know everything about us! And I do mean everything. They have huge servers with thousands of Terabytes, petabytes, blablabytes of our data, because data is power, data is the 21st-century oil, data is the 21st-century gold!
Just look at how we much we sold out our privacy... we now have google homes and Alexas recording us at home and sending the information to Google and Amazon, information that is stored in their servers (yeah, you can even access it online and playback the recordings), just to have the benefit of asking an AI device to put something on a shopping list, to tell us the time, to play a music or a Netflix show... how crazy is that? They record us all!
And the software is proprietary! We have to trust Google and Amazon that they aren't recording us all the time... I don't know about you, but I don't feel that safe having a spy in my house that google tells me isn't going to hurt me, isn't it? How can I be sure... I'll tell you how!
No, not Sherlock Holmes older brother. Mycroft is an open-source software/hardware that aims to do everything Google home and Alexa do but in an open, honest, transparent way, where everyone can check the code, fork the code and use the code! Privacy is the main aim of Mycroft.
It started in 2015 with a Kickstarter campaign. The two guys behind it Ryan Sipes and Joshua Montgomery came up with the idea after seeing the serious lack of privacy that Virtual Assistants like Google Home and Alexa have. They decided that they wanted to create a more private, open-source way of doing a Virtual assistant, and so, Mycroft was born.
Since it started, Mycroft has won several awards and VC backing, with the amount of money they've gathered they'll be able to keep developing Mycroft for years to come! The team behind Mycroft decided to distribute shares of the company to the public through Startengine, an equity crowdfunding platform.
But wait, isn't it Open Source? Why am I talking about companies and shares? Well, because even though you can buy a Mycroft and have that comfort that comes from buying an already built Hardware, you can also build your own using simple gadgets and hardware that you can buy online! All you need is a:
- Picroft (Mycroft's OS that you can get and check from Github)
- Raspberry Pi 3 minimum (35-50$)
- MicroSD card (8 Gb) minimum
- Speaker (analog)
- USB microphone
Using all of these you'll get a normal standard virtual home assistant, you can also use a display and connect it to Mycroft so you can see anything that Mycroft shows you! The community is big and there are many open-source tools and modules being developed by the community for Mycroft.
I haven't built my own Mycroft, need to get myself a Raspberry Pi, which is in fact quite cheap, but I will, mainly because I know some Mycroft Owners, and the software, in my honest opinion, is almost on par with Google Home and Alexa.
If you want to take back your privacy, take back your security, take back your data, then don't give it away for free, don't use a Virtual Assistant where you don't know anything about the code in it! Use an open-source version of it! Use Mycroft...
I'll leave some good websites here for people that want to know more about it and that want to do a Mycroft of their own, sooner or later I'll get myself a Raspberry Pi (which isn't expensive at all) and do one of my own, when I do I'll blog about the whole process on Steem.
- Make Your Own Virtual Assistant with Mycroft
- How to hear (and delete) every conversation your Google Home has recorded
- How to Stop Your Google Home From Recording All Your Conversations
- Alphabet reported $32.6 billion in revenue from Google's advertising business, a jump of about 16% over the same period last year.
Question of the day: Do you use Google Home or Alexa? Would you switch to the more friendly and honest Mycroft?