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[$$] All Ears: Always-On Listening Devices Could Soon Be Everywhere

If every tree falling in every forest might soon be heard by an internet-connected microphone, what hope is there for our privacy? Add in the latest smart wireless headphones—Apple’s expected next-generation AirPods or competing ones from Bose or Shure—along with talking microwave ovens and TVs from Samsung, LG and others, and anyone at home or in an open-plan office could soon be within earshot of hundreds of microphones. For a hundred years, microphones consisted of a relatively large membrane whose vibrations were converted to electrical impulses.