The Kuri robot is so cute I almost forgot it could get hacked and ruin my life

The Kuri robot is so cute I almost forgot it could get hacked and ruin my life
Source: YouTube
Source: YouTube

In the very near future, you'll be able to stare lovingly into your robo-roommate's beady eyes as the camera tucked behind them watches your life and streams it to hackers. 

Kuri is a home robot debuting at the Consumer Electronics Show and is slated to ship in time for the 2017 holiday season, TechCrunch reported. It follows in the wheels of its social robot counterparts — Jibo and Pepper — in that it's being marketed as more than just Amazon's Alexa with a face. It's supposed to act as your companion. 

"Hey Kuri, do you want to play?" a little girl asks the 14-pound hunk of metal in a YouTube video. 

Kuri responds with beeps reminiscent of Droidspeak. 

You then see the social robot wheel off, using the HD camera behind its eye to follow the girl into another room. 

Kuri responds to voice commands, as the above video shows, but unlike Alexa or Siri it responds with beeps and boops rather than verbal cues. It can execute a variety of functions, like reading your kid a story before bed or playing you a podcast while you're getting ready for work, as well as a number of smart home functions. The Bluetooth- and Wi-Fi-enabled li'l bud is also a dream machine for hackers. 

Kuri has a "four-microphone array" and speaker built into its body "so that it can hear you no matter where you are in the room," according to TechCrunch. Along with the high-definition camera in its eyeball and a processor capable of image and voice recognition, a hacker could crack into your new Pixar-like playmate and follow you around the house, quietly recording your every sound and move. 

You could put tape over Kuri's eyes, rendering your new bud totally blind, but what kind of companion would that make you? 

While social robots might sound fun and cute, in reality, a smart home assistant can perform all of the functions and more without the added risk of a hacker on wheels. If you are that much in need of a purchasable friend, have you heard of a dog? They're delightfully unhackable. 

That face when you're so cute I'll let you hack me.
Source: 
Robotics Trends/YouTube

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Melanie Ehrenkranz

Melanie is a writer covering technology and the future. She can be reached at melanie@mic.com.

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