It’s both difficult and easy to trust the giants of the digital world. The Titans, Google and Facebook, are entrusted with more information that we’d reveal to our friends and family, yet we know that digital information is rarely entirely secure. Facebook, Google and Amazon all use our search habits, what we shop for, and how we use our devices, to advertise and suggest. They use what you do online to influence how your money is spent. While we agree to these uses of our data when we make an account, there is a strangeness to others seeing what we do on the privacy of our own devices, and shaping them to personalise ads and recommendations. But for the most part, Google and Facebook are given the benefit of the doubt.
Google’s new A.I. camera, named Google Clips, has been announced and will be on sale soon. These Clips are for your home. Small and easy to use, they are to be placed around your house and, using the A.I. technology that controls what the lens does, the Clips take photos and videos of scenes it designates as memorable. If your kids are playing and you’re out of the room, then Clips will recognise it as event worthy of saving, and record it. ‘The company claims,’ says Time, that ‘the camera is smart enough to recognise familiar faces over time, like family members, so that it knows when to snap photos.’ So in essence, Google Clips is not too different to an iPhone being propped up somewhere in the living room. Clips simply waits through all the boredom until something interesting takes place. A fairly thankless job, for a camera with artificial intelligence.
Since the trust given to companies like Google can only stretch so far, Google Clips does not include the ability to record audio. They are not bugging your home, though there will be a small CCTV device in your home at all times. But then, Clips does not need an internet connection to work. The images it records can only be accessed once the camera is coupled with your phone. Google have evidently foreseen the criticisms of such an idea, and worked around the natural suspicions people will have of it. They have also included a small light that will shine when the camera is recording. The trouble with having Google Clips in a room is that, everyone performs when they are on camera. Even if its hiding inside their shell, people switch to different characters when recording begins, and when that tiny light flicks on, and the whole room knows that they are being watched, everyone will become insufferable. It will take a lot of trust to sit comfortably in a room with one.