Joanna Stern’s Amazon Astro Review

Speaking of Joanna Stern, her review of Amazon’s Astro home robot last week was fun and fascinating (News+ link for the article, YouTube link for the video):

Amazon’s list of Astro’s talents is overwhelmingly long, but at home the robot doesn’t do anything particularly valuable. I take that back: It’s very good at stirring up powerful emotions of love and hate.

How do I know? Astro moved in with my family (two kids, two moms, one dog) a couple of weeks ago.

You can’t buy the $1,000 robot — at least not until Amazon permits you. But you wouldn’t want to buy it. At least not yet. Our adventures with Astro, in its earliest days, showed me a world where computers can be relatable, proactive helpers.

AI research into autonomy is not only about transportation vehicles. The race is on to build and ship useful home and workplace assistants — something like a cross between C-3PO (can talk and go up and down stairs) and R2-D2 (not annoying).

Thursday, 28 April 2022