Speed Reads


The cuter the robot, the bigger the security risk?

If you're going to have a robot help you with your day-to-day life, it might as well be a cute robot, right?

The idea sounds nice in theory, but the BBC suggests that cute robots may actually be more dangerous. The robots' endearing big eyes could cause people to trust them with confidential information, like passwords, that could be stored in the cloud.

Robots are being tested to help preschool children in their studies, to help autistic people learn to socialize, and to help the elderly as companion "pets," the BBC reports. But the "big-eyed, cute design can distract from the motors and computer chips involved." Many of the robots being tested have microphones, cameras, and sensors, so if their data got into the wrong hands, it could be extremely dangerous. The large eyes and even fur on some robots will "appeal to deep-seated human emotions," the BBC notes, which could pose a security risk:

While it may be some time before social robots become widespread in areas such as care for elderly and young people, the impact of technical and ethical choices made by today's designers will set standards for decades to come... One new design has a space at the front of its head, which allows a real human face of your choice to be projected on to it. Then there are robotic seals and baby dinosaurs, which are bound to bring out the nurturing instinct in us. [BBC News]

So if you do opt for a super-cute robotic assistant in the future, just make sure you understand its security measures, too.