If you are looking for an answer to the question What is Artificial Intelligence? and you only have a minute, then here's the definition the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence offers on its home page: "the scientific understanding of the mechanisms underlying thought and intelligent behavior and their embodiment in machines."
However, if you are fortunate enough to have more than a minute, then please get ready to embark upon an exciting journey exploring AI (but beware, it could last a lifetime) …
At the end of September, amidst its usual flurry of fall hardware announcements, Amazon debuted two especially futuristic products within five days of each other. The first is a small autonomous surveillance drone, Ring Always Home Cam, that waits patiently inside a charging dock to eventually rise up and fly around your house, checking whether you left the stove on or investigating potential burglaries. The second is a palm recognition scanner, Amazon One, that the company is piloting at two of its grocery stores in Seattle as a mechanism for faster entry and checkout. Both products aim to make security and authentication more convenient--but for privacy-conscious consumers, they also raise red flags. Amazon's latest data-hungry innovations are not launching in a vacuum.
Don't you want to talk less and smile more? According to the company who literally invented the smart home voice assistant, talking to them is just a temporary stage. Soon, they'll "just know" what we want and do it for us, automatically. To prove this theory, the consumer technology giant showed off a slew of new gadgets at its annual hardware event last week, including a security drone for your home, an Echo speaker that moves, and significant advances in the artificial intelligence capabilities of Alexa. This vision of an "ambient home" as opposed to a command drive home outlined by Amazon's Senior Vice President David Limp at the event, has been the roadmap for home automation for decades. The true smart home doesn't just react to commands, it is predictive and proactive, determining what you need, when you need it.
Ring, the Amazon-owned home security business, introduced a flying camera on Thursday that may excite home-surveillance fans but is almost certain to rankle privacy advocates. The $250 drone, called Ring Always Home Cam, is among a slew of products unveiled during Amazon's invitation-only online hardware event. The drone is small and light, with a high-definition camera, and it can automatically fly on preset paths to specific spots in your home, streaming video to your smartphone of what it sees along the way. Users can set up paths for the drone via a smartphone app, or if the drone detects motion in a part of your home it can fly on its own to that spot and take video of what's going on. Set for release next year, the drone is meant for indoor use only, and it can be set to work with the Ring Alarm system so that it will fly a preset route if the alarm is triggered.
The past few years of Alexa-related product launches have seen rise to some of the most unusual devices launched by a major tech company. There's been the Alexa ring, the Alexa glasses, the Alexa wall clock, and the Alexa microwave. This year, though, as Amazon released the biggest upgrade to Alexa since the agent first showed up in its cylindrical house called Echo, its developer brought forth a smaller range of Alexa devices. That may be in part because the company has been doing such a good job of getting third parties to spread the cyan-accompanied conversationalist far and wide as well as the company's commitment to sustainability, which not only favors fewer, more durable devices, but those using sustainable materials that may not be so easily leveraged in niche forays. In contrast to the Echo proliferation slowdown, Amazon's Ring product line continued to expand well beyond its signature video doorbell with a new premium service offering and a move into vehicles with a car alarm and camera connection service that showed more thoughtfulness than the dashboard screen invasions of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The division also showed off a small mailbox sensor that can alert you of new postal mail and address mail theft.
With all of the spectacle of an Apple event and droid-like gadgetry of the Disney Star War series The Mandalorian, the Amazon Devices & Services Showcase on September 24 dazzled with more than a dozen new products to help consumers adapt to pandemic life and better integrate work, school and entertainment into their smart homes. Here are highlights from the show along with my interview of Alexa's Head Scientist Rohit Prasad. Ring Always Home Cam is sure to become a family favorite as it zips around the house playing with your dog, spying on the nanny, searching for your phone, checking the oven, and spooking intruders. Echo Dot Kids Edition, which comes in animal-themed tiger and panda prints, switches to Alexa kid mode with a child-friendly tone when answering a youngster's questions, helping with homework, reading bedtime stories, calling friends, and playing games. One year subscription to Amazon Kids with Audible books included.
Ring's Always Home Cam is an indoor security camera drone. Ring on Thursday introduced a new product to its growing roster of smart home devices -- the Ring Always Home Cam. Unlike the Amazon company's other security cameras, the Always Home Cam is a flying camera drone that docks when it isn't in use. The Ring Always Home Cam will be available in 2021 for $250. Along with this hardware announcement, Ring says you'll be able to turn on end-to-end encryption in the Ring app's Control Center "later this year" in an effort to improve the security of its devices.
I always know a new product is excellent when its makers describe it as "next-level." I hear you moan, on seeing the new, wondrous Ring Always Home Cam. Also: When is Prime Day 2020? Oh, how can you be such a killjoy? When Amazon's Ring describes it as "Next-Level Compact, Lightweight, Autonomously Flying Indoor Security Camera," surely you leap toward your ceiling and exclaim: "Finally, something from Amazon I actually want! A drone that flies around my living room!"
I actually had to double-check my calendar to make sure today wasn't April Fool's. Because watching the intro video of an indoor surveillance drone operated by Amazon seemed like just the sort of geeky joke you'd expect on April 1. But it isn't April Fools, and besides, Google has always been the one with the twisted sense of humor. Amazon has always been the one with the twisted sense of world domination. This was a serious press briefing.
Amazon has unveiled a bizarre home surveillance drone that flies around your house when you're not there and keeps an eye out for intruders. Unveiled by Ring, the firm's home security arm, the Always Home Cam can fly to check if the stove is off or the window is still open while the user is away. It consists of a flying black camera, powered by rotor blades, that automatically takes off from a stationary white dock if it detects movement in the house. The drone only records when it is in the air and makes a sound when it flies, so any people in the house know it is recording. Amazon said was inspired to create a security product that could move more freely throughout the home to'give more viewpoint flexibility'.
Amazon's nightmare surveillance network is going mobile. Not merely content to film both the outside and inside of your home from fixed points, the company announced Thursday a Ring drone that will fly around the interior of your home, shooting and livestreaming video in the process. Say hello to the Always Home Cam, a product that's very existence poses the question: What the absolute fuck is Amazon thinking? According to Amazon, its latest connected monstrosity will cost $249. And don't worry, an Amazon liveblog made clear that this aerial peeping Tom won't violate your privacy -- unlike, say, the hacker who watched and yelled slurs at an 8-year-old girl through a Ring camera, or the Ring contractors who reportedly watched customer videos... or the Ring employees who tried to watch customer videos.