On the Amazon Astro robot, or servants old and new

Amazon has a new robot coming out, and there’s been a number of reviews. Here’s a list of just a few of them:

If those reviews have convinced you to get one, you can apply to get into the queue for them over here (they aren’t generally available): Amazon.com: Introducing Amazon Astro, Household Robot for Home Monitoring, with Alexa, Includes 6-month Free Trial of Ring Protect Pro : Everything Else

My thoughts:

  • It’s smart Amazon is rolling them out this way. (No pun intended.) There are going to be many missteps* : a gradual rollout will minimize problems and bad press. (* Also not a pun. :))
  • A robot is the next iteration in home devices. People may have a number of Amazon home devices around. Robots are like Alexa on wheels. And if anyone can mass produce them, Amazon can.
  • I can see Google and others getting into the game. I have a number of Google Home devices around my house. Having a Google Robot (Gizmo?) would be a benefit to me. For one thing, I might consolidate my Home devices and just have one robot / floor.
  • I wonder if Apple will get into the game? I’d love to see an Apple Home robot. Maybe it will look like Eve from Wall-E? 🙂
  • Perhaps at some point this thing can do many things. Or maybe there will be just a series of robots: one to vacuum, one to move small things around and watch the house and provide information, maybe even one to tend to plants or keep the cat busy. Robot technology has a way to go before it is humanlike and can do everything.

Anyway, a home robot for under a grand is an exciting development.

P.S. While I was reading that I was reminded of this piece: Finding the servant call buttons in New York City’s Gilded Age mansions | Ephemeral New York. In some ways saying “Hey Siri/Alexa/Google” is the equivalent of pressing servant buttons.  One day we will have a household of robot servants working for us at the press of a button.

(Image linked to from the Ephemeral New York article. Those buttons are in the Frick museum in New York: check them out if you go there.)

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