Paul Miller at presents a thoughtful essay on the real transaction you agree to when you purchase a Smart Speaker for your home. Yes, you purchase the hardware, but who actually owns what, and what is really happening when you being to rely on a smart device that’s controlled by the vendor?

Beyond the convenience, there’s really a lot to think about before you take the plunge:

It’s no secret that voice assistants are a Trojan Horse. You “buy” a voice assistant like an Echo Dot or a Google Home, and you plug it in and give it your Wi-Fi password. But you don’t “own” it like you own a computer. The software is controlled entirely by Amazon or Google or some other company.

So, I bought a Trojan Horse in December as a little self-gift for Christmas: an Echo Dot.

Viz the full gist at