Samsung is pushing hard into the Internet of Things, and in an effort to show off its new ARTIK IoT platform, the company created Otto, a personal assistant robot similar to the Amazon Echo, but a bit creepier. Otto has a microphone and speaker, can answer questions when prompted like Siri or Alexa, and can control smart home devices like thermostats and lights, just like the Echo.
But it also comes with an HD camera and can stream live video to your mobile device or PC, essentially acting as a security camera when you’re not home. Users can adjust the viewpoint of the camera from their phone as well. We all know that just about anything can be hacked these days, and having a device that’s always listening is already concerning for some people, but adding an HD camera that can stream live video of your home to the mix brings it to another level.
We have devices that potentially pose the same privacy issues separately — your Amazon Echo is always listening and your Nest Camera is always watching — but when those two concerns are put into the same product, like the Microsoft Kinect, it can raise serious issues.
Right now the Otto is only a prototype designed to show off Samsung’s new IoT technology. But here’s the bigger question: do the benefits of a smart personal assistant with a built-in camera outweigh the potential downsides, or would you rather keep your digital assistant separate from your security camera?