“Alexa, When's My Next Class? This University Is Giving Out Amazon Echo Dots”
Elizabeth Weise, USA Today, June 20, 2018
Not to mention the problem of Alexa “simply overhearing” otherwise private information spoken aloud by anyone within microphone range …
Starting this fall, some students at Northeastern University in Boston will be given the option of getting an Echo Dot smart speaker linked to their university accounts. They'll be able to ask Amazon's Alexa what time their classes are, how much money's left on their food card and even how much they own the bursar's office.
The program gives students instant access to information they would have to call or go online for, as well as taking pressure off the school's offices. It also makes Amazon's digital assistant a go-to source for a generation who will inhabit a world in which talking to computers is commonplace and who will soon have paychecks to spend.
At the same time, it raises questions about security and privacy for young adults living in close quarters, often on their own for the first time. …
Alexa can't differentiate between different people's voices, so a prying roommate could be an issue, said Paul Bischoff, a privacy advocate with Comparitech.com, a security and privacy review site.
“There's also the problem of third parties simply overhearing otherwise private information spoken aloud by Alexa,” he said.
“Children Struggle to Hold Pencils Due to Too Much Tech, Doctors Say”
Amelia Hill, The Guardian, February 25, 2018
“Children are not coming into school with the hand strength and dexterity they had 10 years ago,” said Sally Payne, the head paediatric occupational therapist at the Heart of England foundation NHS Trust. “Children coming into school are being given a pencil but are increasingly not able to hold it because they don't have the fundamental movement skills.”
“To be able to grip a pencil and move it, you need strong control of the fine muscles in your fingers. Children need lots of opportunity to develop those skills.”