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The New Astro Home Robot from Amazon is a Dystopian Nightmare


October 6, 2021

Home Robot

Astro, Amazon’s first home robot, is powered by Alexa technology, Amazon‘s smart home technology. When not at home, the robot – a tablet on wheels about the size of a small dog – may be remotely operated to check on pets, humans, or home security. It also monitors a house on its own and notifies users if it detects something strange. Astro is roughly 50 cm tall and has three wheels that allow him to move around. It can map your house and respond to voice commands, delivering all of Alexa’s features to a mobile companion that can follow you everywhere you go owing to its wheels. The robot, for example, can assist family members or the elderly in maintaining frequent contact with their loved ones via video chats or even organizing a beat-boxing party.

The robot includes a periscope arm that allows it to interact with items like knobs and buttons in a limited fashion, as well as a system of cameras that allows it to navigate the house while avoiding obstacles. Customers may switch off cameras, microphones, and movements by pressing the microphones or cameras-off button at any time. Astro is unable to move or record video or audio while this button is pushed, and a dedicated red LED illuminates to match the red status indication on the screen.

You can even use Astro as a surveillance camera to keep an eye on what’s happening in your house while you’re away, thanks to his computer vision. Astro doesn’t appear to be able to play with your pets just yet, but they can check to see whether your dog has trashed your sofa or if your cat is napping on the uppermost shelf due to a special periscope camera.

Astro, too, has promised to safeguard your privacy, according to Amazon. Owners will be able to establish limits zones that tell Astro where it isn’t permitted to travel, as well as use “do not disturb” capabilities to limit Astro’s mobility during specific times of the day, in addition to all of Alexa technology’s regular privacy safeguards. Astro is not the first home robot on the market, but it is the first that has a chance of succeeding since it incorporates numerous characteristics that have been extensively tested in other Amazon goods.

Amazon has given it a face in an attempt to persuade us that it is a pleasant AI companion rather than the data-harvesting dystopian nightmare bot that it is. This creature is wicked, and it must be exterminated. Astro’s icy, glaring synthetic eyes aren’t endearing. Astro is a sci-fi nightmare that comes true. Imagine turning around and finding it sitting there silently watching you, waiting for an order, with those enormous circular eyes piercing straight into your soul. A surveillance gadget with a face has a menacing aura about it.

Astro is “awful,” a “disaster not suitable for release,” and “possibly hazardous,” according to developers who reportedly worked on the robot and spoke anonymously to Vice. According to one source, facial recognition technology is “at best inaccurate,” making the “in-home security offer ludicrous.” According to another source, the home robot is far more delicate than its high retail price suggests, with the camera mast regularly being stuck in position and it “almost definitely throwing itself down a flight of stairs.” Maybe, Astro is helpful to such an extent, but it can interrupt your privacy.

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