Last week, I was quietly writing an email on my laptop when it was taken over by Windows to install updates. Now normally that procedure gives me a message requesting my decision on whether to do the loading of updates now or at a later and more convenient time of my own choosing.
In this case, the updates began loading and I was officially locked out of my laptop. Since I could do nothing to stop this "action" and I had no idea how long this would take, I stepped away and took a shower, prepared a tasty latte and made a few phone calls. More than twenty minutes later ( I periodically checked the screen), my laptop restarted and the following text was printed in large white letters with blue background on my screen, "You will be excited by the new updates we installed".
Okay....so my computer is now communicating with me and it has determined that I will be " excited" about something. I noticed a new feature button near the bottom left of my screen beside the Windows icon. It read, "I'm Cortana. Ask me anything". The first thing that came to my mind was the thought that the updates had loaded smart software on my laptop and that Cortana was the latest version of a personal assistant. When I clicked the location in order to have some fun and ask her, "What is the meaning of Life"?, a pop-up message from Windows warned me that activating this non-requested software would give them permission to collect data from my laptop.
It stated that Microsoft collects and uses information, including your location and location history, contacts, voice input, searching history, calendar details, content and communication history from messages and apps and "other information" on your device...if you activate Cortana.
So, I did not accept their terms, but here is the problem. Cortana is now in my laptop. I have briefly checked the web for a way to remove and or disable her, but my search results point to this action as possibly complicating my searches and task bar usage in the near future. In other words, Microsoft's Cortana, like Apple's Siri, is here to stay and this is only the beginning of the so-called intelligent personal assistant (IPA) software agent presence in our daily lives.
Will they still collect my private information and send it back to a third party?
Who is assisting who?
For further research, check out this link:
Cortana Gets Better at Helping You Manage Your Busy Schedule