Do Amazon’s robots come in peace? Our sci-fi future is now

Good thing it’s Halloween season, because I’m not sure whether I should be scared of all these big tech announcements.

Earlier this week, we saw Amazon roll out (in one case literally) a variety of devices they believe will make your life easier.

There’s the giant Echo Show that mounts on your wall as a digital bulletin board. There’s the drone-like flying security camera to let you monitor every inch of your home.

Then there’s Astro, the seemingly adorable robot who rolls out your home to keep you safe and attend to your every needs.

“You’re going to see our examples of our next big leaps forward – science fiction becoming reality,” said Dave Limp, senior vice president of devices and services at Amazon, at the top of the tech giant’s event.

Here’s my worry: which science fiction inspired reality are we going to get?

Amazon’s vision resembles The Jetsons. You know, Rosie, the robot maid who tended to your every whim, that super cool food machine that immediately prepped a meal with a couple button taps, and of course the flying cars. 

Amazon, and frankly every tech company, imagines a world where tech is helping you enjoy life. You’ve got a device that helps provide stronger connections between distant family members, or keeps a busy house organized, or protects you from potential threats.

But I can’t help watching a flying camera drone and a robot roaming, camera peeking out above its head, without thinking of two words: The Terminator. Yep, the one featuring the superpowered artificial intelligence and killer robots (hi, Arnold.)

Look, I don’t expect Astro to travel through time and hunt down my mom to prevent me from writing this newsletter (at least I hope not), but I am concerned with all this technology and the zillions of cameras and microphones it thrusts right into our homes.

Fortunately, having all this tech is optional. For now, I’m going to wait until I know our reality is headed more toward Rosie and not the T-1000.

What do you think? Let me know on Twitter.

What else happened in tech?

• Oh look, another streaming dispute. This time it’s YouTube TV versus NBCUniversal, agreeing to a short term deal to keep NBC channels on the service. For now.

• Facebook back on Capitol Hill. The social network’s global head of safety was grilled by members of the Senate’s consumer protection subcommittee to discuss Instagram’s impact on teens’ mental health.

• Big updates coming to Google search. Images are going to play a central part in how we use Google’s behemoth search engine with its next updates.

• It’s not only COVID. YouTube is cracking down on misinformation related to any vaccine.

Game break

With the NBA poised to start a new season, I broke down the release of video game NBA 2K22. Is it a slam dunk, or a big ol’ brick?

Tell us what you think

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This week on Talking Tech

On the Talking Tech podcast, we discuss COVID vaccine cards coming to iPhones, Instagram pausing a kids’ version of its app, and Amazon.

Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @brettmolina23.

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