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Picture this: It’s evening and, after a long day at the office, you’re finally home. You’re cutting some avocados as you prepare dinner when your voice assistant pipes up and reads you an important email that just came in. Without breaking your chopping stride, you dictate a reply—perfecting your guacamole while preserving your relationship with your boss.

This might sound like heaven to you—or, just as likely, hell. Either way, it’s about to be our reality.

When Amazon introduced Alexa, the tech industry quickly anointed voice as the next big thing. Sure, she was mostly reciting the weather and answering lewd questions from nine-year-old boys, but the future held much more. The rise of voice devices will rewrite the digital playbook in unpredictable ways—including how, when, and whether we have the ability to say, “Enough!” In a time when digital detoxing, unplugging, and disconnecting are widely discussed and even yearned for, voice could turn into the platform you can’t turn off.

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