Silicon Valley virtual assistants are always on and always listening

One of my friends was absolutely stoked when she got her Alexa for Christmas last year. She took pride of place on the shelf beside her wall-mounted TV, where she could maximize her listening capability. Over the next few months, Alexa began to sink into the background of her home, almost as another family member. Whenever she needed help remembering the final ingredient of a recipe, or who was in the Six Million Dollar Man, Alexa came to the rescue.