Guest Post: Out with the Alexa and in with the new J.A.R.V.I.S courtesy of Mycroft AI

Today’s guest post is courtesy of: Brian Hopkins  @br1anhopkins  @btotharye

So after spending a good bit of time at Pycon over the past week and a half I finally decided to push through and make the switch. I have been working with for the past month or so and I’m loving it. In fact so much as you can see from this post I have removed my Alexa’s. Let me explain why below.

Alexa Is Insecure

Alexa by nature is very insecure and I don’t like the idea of not really knowing at any given time what is going on. Thankfully to mycroft being open sourced I have complete access to the logs and know exactly what is being recorded, when, and what is being sent to their Speech To Text (STT) engine and transcribed. I also don’t like the fact to manage certain internal devices there has to be a open line out on the Internet, just seems a little insecure and the model of mycroft works better for myself and I would think for any security like minded individuals. Below is a powerpoint showing how the Mycroft architecture works:

Mycroft Architecture

Alexa Has Minimal Wake Words

So another issue I had with Alexa was the wake words. They are very minimal right now and don’t really leave any options open for what you want to use. I currently use the famous J.A.R.V.I.S for mine but can be really anything. If you are curious you can check there is a specific doc about how to change them on mycroft.

Mycroft Is Flexible

The main reason I like mycroft is it so open and flexible. I am able to create skills for new things that don’t exist yet very easily. This has led me to go ahead and switch over to mycroft sooner rather than later and start coding up any missing skills as I need them. I currently have created twitter skills and skills to manage my home automation program:

You can find my repo at github/@btotharye

Early Adopter Benefits

By starting out early on this framework and project I am able to learn quite a bit and be a big part of helping out in the community which I love. It leads to me finding new issues to fix and learn how to become a better coder by having active issues and skills to create and program for. It also allows me to assist in making the product more consumer based in the future to allow it to be used by anyone even if you don’t know how to code necessarily or might be new to computers.

Great Community Support

Mycroft has an amazing community support driven via Slack (auto-invite) and the Community Forums.

I urge you to check out mycroft and take a look at their mark 1 (above, and yes it blinks AND the lips move) as well as the picroft options to run on a Raspberry Pi. There is a full list of available platforms and ways to start using mycroft, and for more upcoming posts on setting up mycroft and building your first skill.

Bryan is a “Generation Y” datacenter technology expert, focusing on Home Automation and AI in his personal life and bringing it into his professional role whenever he can. He loves to automate anything possible, and currently is most passionate about the growth and opportunity of open source home automation platforms.

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Ben C

First phone: Wall-mounted rotary dial. First cellphone: Motorola StarTac (dozens of antennas) First Android: Droid Incredible: rooted, ended up on CM Current: Essential PH-One (Now Defunct) Fun stuff: dad, photographer, dog-owner, Subaru and Volvo owner, water and nature lover.