Convenience is not always a benefit; sometimes you pay a very high price for it without even knowing.

So-called “digital assistants” such as Amazon’s “Alexa” and Google Home are all the rage. You leave them on in your kitchen or den, where they are online 24/7. Using voice recognition, they can turn music on and off, play your favorite tunes, give you a weather forecast, order pizza for home delivery and much more. You don’t have to lift a finger; just give the device your orders and your wish is their command.

But is that all they do? Turns out the answer is no.

They listen to what’s going on in your home continually. The devices use sophisticated artificial intelligence and big data to “evaluate” your home behavior and decide if it’s morally correct in accordance with the definitions and standards of software developers crowded into Silicon Valley or Seattle.

Their values are not yours. These developers are typically left-wing, politically correct and not particularly religious. They’re not guided by the moral standards that moderate your behavior. They do believe in human-caused climate change (false science), the end of internal-combustion engines (impractical) and the Green New Deal (unaffordable), among other things.

So what happens when your conversations with your friends and family, your selection of books and articles and your political opinions run afoul of the Silicon Valley thought police? According to this article, a network of similar devices from other homes holds a digital kangaroo court (no humans allowed) to decide if you are a threat. If you are judged to be a threat, the devices will report you to the police (usually politicized on their own) or place you on a surveillance list or worse.

Your digital assistant is actually a well-placed spy and you are the enemy. I don’t own one and have no intention of getting one. If you get one for the convenience, just watch what you say… and think.

Institutional investors can schedule a proof of concept with the world’s first predictive data analytics firm combining human and artificial intelligence with complexity science. Check out Jim Rickard’s company at Meraglim Holdings to learn more.