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Amazon’s New Echo Show Is Very Cool and a Little Creepy

Mat Honan, writing for BuzzFeed:

It has this wild new feature called Drop In. Drop In lets you give people permission to automatically connect with your device. Here’s how it works. Let’s say my father has activated Drop In for me on his Echo Show. All I have to do is say, “Alexa, drop in on Dad.” It then turns on the microphone and camera on my father’s device and starts broadcasting that to me. For the several seconds of the call, my father’s video screen would appear fogged over. But then there he’ll be. And to be clear: This happens even if he doesn’t answer. Unless he declines the call, audibly or by tapping on the screen, it goes through. It just starts. Hello, you look nice today.

Honestly, I haven’t figured out what to think about this yet. But, it’s here.

I know what to think of this: No fucking way do I want this.

Update: I’ve already gotten a few reader responses arguing that this feature could be great for an Echo Show in the home of an elderly relative. You visit and set it up in their house, explain to them what it does, and then you can check in with them without their needing to do anything at all. I can see that. You can think of it as the digital equivalent of having a set of keys to someone’s house — something you’d only grant to a deeply trusted friend or loved one.

Monday, 26 June 2017