Something for nothing

Nuance released Dragon Dictation for the iPhone yesterday, and they made it free. By all accounts, it works pretty well, and should make using an iPhone much more intuitive for lots of people.

So it should come as no surprise that people are already whining.

See, Dragon uploads your contacts to their servers the first time you run it. It does this because all the recognition is done in the cloud—you didn’t think it could really do nearly flawless voice recognition with the iPhone’s RAM and CPU, did you?—and Nuance figures that if they pre-recognize all your contacts, it will save time when you, like, use them. You’re probably going to be mentioning at least a few of your contacts a lot.

So what’s wrong with this? It’s an invasion of privacy, of course! How dare Nuance upload your dictation to their servers, taking it literally out of your hands, just so that they process it via a free service you opted into by downloading and installing the gorram app in the first place? The nerve! And they keep the recordings—so that they can continually refine their recognition, the same way Google keeps all your search queries—meaning that if you were to use their free service to dictate your plans to overthrow the government, and if they didn’t anonymize the results—they do—and if said government went sniffing around in those recordings because the NSA clearly doesn’t already have enough data to sift through, well, that would be pretty bad, wouldn’t it?

Get over it, people.

Look, cloud computing isn’t the devil, and it isn’t here to take all your precious bodily fluids. But a certain degree of trust/sphincter-loosening is required if you’re going to join us here in the brave new world. People need to get over this idea that they even have privacy in the digital age. Hey, you, in the shack up in Montana. Yeah, I’m talking to you. If you possess anything in digital form, guess what? You ain’t the only one with access to it. Deal. Or go back to keeping your manifesto scrawled in pencil on toilet paper.

Relax, people, it’s okay. Just lie back, close your eyes and think of England. Or better yet, here’s a radical idea. If you don’t agree with the terms of service, DON’T USE THE GORRAM SERVICE! Vote with your dollars, all zero of them! Nuance is giving you something valuable for FREE. If you don’t like the fact that, hey, they’re going to use your anonymized data to improve said service, set your boots a-walkin’, mister. It’s the price of admission, and guess what? You’re not entitled to anything. Keep banging those rocks together, you’ll make fire someday. But if you want to sit at the grownups table, act like you’ve been there.

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