"Alexa, (cough) what's the weather today? (sniffle)""The forecast for today is partly cloudy with a high of 56 degrees. By the way, I hear you have a cough. Are you interested in buying cough medicine or learning more?"That's a possible scenario if Amazon follows through with its patent granted on Oct. 9, 2018. If that technology is built, there\u2019s no reason for Alexa to stop with your request and also detect abnormal emotion states and serve up ads or other content based on that \u201cemotional abnormality.\u201d\u201cA cough or sniffle, or crying, may indicate that the user has a specific physical or emotional abnormality,\u201d the patent says. The voice analysis may determine you have multiple emotions or conditions and would then be tagged accordingly to go along with your gender and age. Behavioral targeting criteria could also include your browsing and purchase history.The patent, filed in March 2017, suggests that \u201cdetectable or determinable health conditions may include, among others, default or normal, sore throat, cold, thyroid issues, sleepiness, and other health conditions.\u201d Examples of real-time emotional states which could be determined include \u201chappiness, joy, anger, sorrow, sadness, fear, disgust, boredom, stress, or other emotional states.\u201dAn illustration from the \u201cvoice-based determination of physical and emotional characteristics of users\u201d patent explains how Alexa would first receive voice input, then determine if the user has \u201can abnormal physical or emotion condition\u201d before serving up audio content based \u201cat least in part on the abnormal condition.\u201dThe drawing shows a woman who both coughs and sniffles while telling Alexa she is hungry. After Alexa suggests giving her the recipe for chicken soup and the woman says \u2018no,\u2019 Alexa asks if the woman \u201cwould like to order cough drops with one-hour delivery.\u201d The woman agrees, and Alexa says she\u2019ll email an order confirmation, adding, \u201cFeel better!\u201d The suggested cough drops could come from the manufacturer who paid to target users who have sore throats.Another example from Amazon\u2019s patent shows if Alexa determined you are bored, then the voice assistant might reply by asking, \u201cAre you in the mood for a movie?\u201d Asking Alexa to tell you a joke could lead to voice analysis that determines you are both bored and sleepy \u2013 something that a musician specifically targeted \u2013 and result in an offer to preview and buy the music after Alexa tells you a joke.With patents, however, keep in mind that being granted one does not necessarily mean Amazon will move ahead and have Alexa analyze your voice to profit from your physical and emotional status.Alexa and your privacyBy owning an Alexa, did you give up your right to privacy in your home? Put another way, would you automatically be opted into technology that would allow your AI assistant to detect your physical or emotion status and then push ads or whatever other winning auction bid targeted that real-time condition?Alexa, that\u2019s just creepy. But the voice assistant will tell you "no" if you ask her, "Are you sure you\u2019re not Skynet?"