At CES this week Samsung showed off a cute robot assistant for the home. It’s called Ballie because, well, it’s a ball.
It’s adorable and the way it rolls after people people is enough melt this cold, black heart. At least, it was until I realised its potential. After all, this little robot is a mobile camera that connected to and controls every smart home gadget in the house. Imagine the sinister things it could get up to.
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Its unlikely Ballie will be able to do much more than roll around the house at the moment. This is all that we got from the model that was on stage during Samsung’s CES keynote.
However, the demo video shows viewers a larger Ballie that can interact with IoT gadgets such as connected blinds and robot vacuums. Its also a security bot for the house, as well as a fitness assistant and pet companion.
I found the video quite sweet, but I’m also a terrible person. I couldn’t help but think, “Ballie could easily trip someone down a flight of stairs, that could be dangerous. Hang on… what if it did it on purpose? It has access to the whole house. It could scrub the footage and get the vacuum to clean up any inconvenient mess. Make it look like a real unfortunate accident.”
I invite all of you to watch the demo video yourselves. If you’re normal, you’ll probably find it charming. You might even want one. It’s a cute assistant robot, after all!
But if you’re a monster like me, you might look beyond the tiny beeps and adorable dog-friendship. Perhaps you’ll ignore its potential to help senior citizens around the home.
Be strong. Stare into the soul of Ballie. See how it watches people sleep and do yoga. Look at all the ways it could organise a little accident as punishment for demanding one too many tasks without saying ‘thank you’.
Suffice to say, we deeply respect you Ballie, sir.
The author travelled to CES 2020 on a scholarship from the Consumer Technology Association.