New Google technology transforms cute teddy bears into surveillance bots
Google is one of the biggest companies in the world and one that encourages innovation and new technologies in order to better mankind. Things like self-driving cars, drones and a special time allocated to its employees to dedicate to innovative projects.
While some of the projects are very valuable and useful, some have been touted as been a controversial and a possible threat to the concept of privacy.
1 Google’s patent and concept
Google has developed some toys that have the technology and capability of listening to and watching everything in the surrounding where they are kept.
Google aims to use these toys and similar stuffed toys like rabbits, teddy bears and robots, which will have these capabilities and also recognise voice commands to do some house hold chores, connected to switching on and off TV, lights etc.
2 How it works?
The teddy bear, robots and other such toys will be able to move their heads and concentrate with their eyes, fixate them on a particular object. Interact with everything around them and record things.
They can be used to conduct surveillance activities in the home. Being connected to internet gives them the ability to be in touch with not only Google, but also to enforcement agencies.
They will be connected to the internet and every byte of data they record will be stored on external servers and can be used to monitor the happenings in the household.
3 The patent application and meaning
Google’s application filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office says:
An anthropomorphic device, perhaps in the form factor of a doll or toy, may be configured to control one or more media devices. Upon reception or a detection of a social cue, such as movement and/or a spoken word or phrase, the anthropomorphic device may aim its gaze at the source of the social cue. In response to receiving a voice command, the anthropomorphic device may interpret the voice command and map it to a media device command. Then, the anthropomorphic device may transmit the media device command to a media device, instructing the media device to change state.
The exact meaning of the text is not clear, but if the toys have the ability to recognise voice commands and are connected to the internet, they can be used to carefully carry out spying activities and will be able to control any smart device in any households.
4 A threat to family and children privacy
Do you really want a creepy toy in the house which can monitor each and every movement in the house by anyone? That Teddy bear in the house can very well pick up a sentence uttered in normal occurrence, which can be conceived as a threat and it can alert the authorities and trap you in your house. It can do that by shutting the power to the home and shutting your security system of the house.
Also the children in the house will never be able to play and live freely if they are under constant supervision and know that their activities are being watched and recorded every minute of the day. With the scandal of cell phone tapping and records being shared with government coming into light, do the general public really want another invasion of their privacy.