What happens when all your home memories are recorded for you, without having to even do a thing? Would you even want that? Mayfield Robotics' Kuri, a cute-faced rolling robot that debuts in December for $800, plans to do that. All the time.
CNET got toback in January, but the home-movie-recording is a new feature. Kuri's also gotten a bit redesigned since the last prototype. The robot now has treads that allow it to wander across carpet and bumps up to 2 centimeters high. It's also several pounds lighter, down to 11. It's a lot easier to pick up than my four-year-old.
You don't need to turn Kuri Vision, as the feature is called, on all the time. It can be set to certain parts of the house, or certain times of day. But Kuri, left to its own devices, will take 5-second-long "vignettes" (short videos) eight times a day and deliver them to you to look at on its app.
Also, in the cloud. And that's where this idea gets more uncomfortable. Mayfield Robotics' CEO Michael Beebe says that the cloud-enabled app is private and secure, but there's absolutely no telling what Kuri will record. You can, supposedly, train Kuri to record certain types of video memories. And Kuri is meant to learn over time, recognizing family members' faces, or even the family dog or cat. Beebe calls it a "stream of magic."
I'd rather not have my spontaneously recorded home movies suddenly sent to the cloud, private or not... but at least there's a way of knowing when Kuri is unable to record. When Kuri charges, the eyes close with physical shutters.
The real question here is, whether or not you buy an $800 rolling personality robot, what other home devices will do this next? Your next Echo, or anything else with a camera? Now that computer vision-based AI can make cameras all over your home act intelligently and process what's being seen, what's stopping ideas like this from spreading all throughout your life?
Nothing, really. Kuri is pretty adorable. But a little robot following me and recording my life seems just this side of scary -- or sad. Or maybe, inevitable.