Amazon Astro robot described as a “privacy minefield” that'll increase AI surveillance

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Amazon's upcoming entry into the field of consumer robotics is controversial. Much like the reveal of Tesla's humanoid AI, the worries of widely available home robots are becoming real. In fact, when it comes to Amazon Astro, those worries are not unfounded.

Amazon Astro is a “minefield” for privacy

In a report by Bloomberg, it’s stated that Amazon's robot brings with it a litany of privacy concerns. The $1000 home robot is described as pushing a “greater public acceptance of AI-powered surveillance”.

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Familiarising the public with AI surveillance isn't inherently bad. After all, the current roadmap places it firmly in an inevitable future. However, loose regulations and Big Tech’s penchant for data collection makes it a worrisome release.

As Bloomberg notes: the killer feature for Amazon Astro is its ability to recognise faces and survey your home. With facial recognition, the robot can be told to take things to specific people inside a building.

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Amazon's already helping police with facial recognition

Amazon has already been caught selling facial recognition technology to governments and police. The company's “Rekognition” software is a “powerful surveillance system readily available to violate rights and target communities of color.”

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Anti-facial recognition movements are becoming commonplace in the face of widespread use of AI detection tools. As Big Brother Watch says, “we must stop this dangerously authoritarian surveillance now”.  

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Amazon's Rekognition software has noticeable issues. — via MIT Technology Review

Last year, Amazon announced a one-year moratorium on police use of Rekognition. However, a lack of consequence regarding police, military and corporate use of facial recognition is still a worry. When it comes to Amazon Astro, you don't even need to trust our worries. A developer that worked on the project already revealed its a “privacy nightmare”.

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