If you're not quite sure how to feel about the new Amazon Astro — the company's Jetsons-esque robot for your home — try asking some of the developers who worked on it.
"Astro is terrible and will almost certainly throw itself down a flight of stairs if presented the opportunity," one developer told Vice News. "The person detection is unreliable at best, making the in-home security proposition laughable." The developer added that the device feels "fragile" for something so expensive, and that, at its best, it's "absurdist nonsense and marketing and, at worst, potentially dangerous for anyone who'd actually rely on it for accessibility purposes."
Another developer said privacy and navigation were among their primary Astro concerns. "As for my personal opinions on the device, it's a disaster that's not ready for release," they said. After also corroborating fears that Astro would fall down stairs in real users' homes, the source condemned the robot as an "indictment of our society and how we trade privacy for convenience with devices," per Vice.
Referencing the Vice report, Gizmodo also called Astro a "privacy nightmare and a dysfunctional mess." And James Vincent of The Verge wrote that although Amazon is offering customers quite a lot with Astro, it's basically just "a camera on wheels."
"Personally, I think Astro is a half-baked concept and part of a dangerous trend of ubiquitous and unthinking surveillance," said Vincent. "Although I accept the fact that many people want this sort of technology in their home, Amazon in particular has repeatedly shown a lack of care and honesty in how it develops this sort of tech."
Amazon, for its part, made sure to deny such characterizations as "simply inaccurate," and noted that Astro does, in fact, know how to avoid stairs, reports Vice.