A look at Amazon’s voice-activated reporting capabilities by @Lihsa

Today I listened to a webex on how to set up Amazon’s Alexa with key analytics applications to deliver voice-activated reporting.

Alexa, can you hear me now? Invoking Amazon's Alexa Skill Interface for custom reports by Lihsa

Now it was super nerdy and I don’t even pretend to understand all of the programming involved that will let you ask Alexa, “How many Huey, Dewey and Louie Law Firm budgets were created today?” Or “Alexa, how many people are looking at my Huey, Dewey and Louie Law Firm  web site right now?”

It is something to do with designing a custom Alexa Skill Interface with custom “wake words”, “invocation words” and “intent processing.” Way over my head. But I like the idea of an invocation word—sounds magical doesn’t it?

[Side bar: one thing to know about invocation words as that they should be your brand’s name. So think about that: law firm names are notoriously long. Can you imagine saying over and over again, “How many Hewey, Dewy and Louie Law Firm blah, blah, blah … ?”]

All of this sounds great. But then envision yourself, a la Philip Seymour Hoffman in Mission Impossible III, being held at gunpoint, and told to read a nonsensical paragraph so that your doppelganger can replicate your vocal chords.

That is the flaw with voice-activated reporting (much like the flaws with iPhone’s facial recognition technology). Yes, I present an extreme hypothetical. Really, who wants to see a law firm’s web site analytics. Major snooze fest.

But it does raise a serious security consideration when contemplating this nascent technology.  What’s to stop someone from walking into anyone’s voice-activated office and asking, “Alexa, what is my colleague’s salary? Alexa, please send me the highly confidential, private report on Client X. Alexa, will I get a Christmas bonus this year?”

These are the things that inquiring minds want to know. And should Alexa be all that ready to be that helpful?

Don’t get me wrong, I like the idea of acting like a smooth talker (even though I’m frequently at a loss for words) and Alexa giving me instant answers. But I think we are too far from the necessary security to see this technology actively used in the legal workspace. Yet.