It’s no understatement that Wynn, having transformed Encore into a hip, fashionable resort instead of his planned Asian gaming crown at the time, is on the forefront of what’s latest and greatest for his rooms. Evidence in point, Wynn saw a model of TV he liked and suddenly every suite and Encore received the same one. (And likely a lucrative contract for the manufacturer.) And jumping on the 2017 bandwagon, AI is about to make it’s debut.
As we reported last weekend, Wynn has plans in place to install a white (as if he’d put a black one save possibly in Encore’s soon to be reviewed minimally renovated rooms) Amazon Echo in every room in his Las Vegas property, starting with the Tower Suites and working down to every last room. The purpose, not your everyday household Echo skills, but specialized tasks to operate curtains, lights, and the TV and AC. All things that the touch panels in both Wynn and Encore already do. The thought it amazing, voice control of your room for the ultimate luxury experience. Here’s the Steve himself talking about it.
First of all, much love Steve, for using amazing terms like “seamlessly delicious, effortlessly convenient” all while wearing something that Peter Weyland might have worn in Prometheus while talking about the first real AI that’s been in the public eye. But while “talking” to your room is the future (I do it at home, on my secure network) my worry in such a deployment is that nothing is truly hack proof. Take into account our recent election. Is Amazon’s cloud data secure? Likely, Foolproof? Never completely.
A while back I received a sizable settlement from the Cosmopolitan as part of a class action because they recorded my calls to and from my room without my knowledge. This was a slap on the wrist, but a necessary one. And while there were no direct impacts to my privacy, the penalty was just to protect privacy. Now Wynn is putting a 7-microphone always on multi-directional speaker in every room in it’s flagship Las Vegas resorts. My worries are, who might gain access if there is a breach, and who might be listening. Vegas plays home to some high end players and figures, some of who I’m rubbed elbows with by no choice of my own during my stay there. Imagine an Echo being able to be hacked to spy on Prince Harry’s shenanigans giving audio to the pictures. Or listening in on a Saudi Prince in for a few days of gambling, or a celebrity on a tryst while his wife has no clue to the likewise. Chances are slim, but when someone is always listening (live or artificial) there’s always a chance of a backdoor, and that could be dangerous to Wynn and his guests.
Should We Be Concerned?
Personally, I love my Echoes (I have two, a Echo and it’s smaller cousin the Echo Dot) but I know that what I say around them makes no difference. And I, unlike most, also know how to mute the speakers entirely. And sometimes, that ring of red LEDs can be immensely satisfying. I wonder, and hope, that Wynn will hand out even a note to disable the Echo so that even in our rooms there’s not a chance someone may be listening whether we like it or not.
*Picture courtesy of The Verge, and video courtesy of Wynn Resorts, LTD.