It’s either incredibly amazing. Or it’s astonishingly creepy.
Possibly a bit of both.
Amazon today announced a new product that makes it even easier to tap directly into your bank account. The cynic in me might suggest they also took another step towards transforming our living spaces into retail spaces.
How many home assistants do we need? Amazon is testing those limits and have given us yet another, ostensibly designed primarily for the kitchen.
It’s called the Amazon Wand and it looks like this:
Amazon Wand costs $20 (but comes with a $20 credit once you register the device), and is a handheld device you use around the home to essentially fill up your Amazon cart with products. You can do that by speaking to it via Alexa or scanning UPC codes on various households goods you may have around the home — handsoap is an example Amazon uses in its advertising for the Wand. Just like magic. Wave the wand Hogwarts style et voila: fill-up your cart with all sorts of wonderful goodies (better living tip: Necco wafers are a good start).
Along with regular Dash buttons (announced a few years back) the idea is all about convenience. Remember the old days? Those cumbersome times when we had to manually open our laptops or pull our smartphones out, load the Amazon web page, and with more than reasonable amounts of physical exertion had to individually place products into our shopping carts? No more, says Bezos and team. Instead, we are now all employees of Amazon. Shopping bots. The easier it is to load up our shopping carts, the easier it will be to live our lives… and for Amazon not only to profit from it, but to glean even more data about our shopping and living behavior.
Hey Alexa, please print me more money.
I’m an Amazon Prime customer, and I do love the convenience. The other day I even ordered something and it arrived the same day. That’s simply astonishing (though part of me does wonder if this is one more step towards ensuring our proper place in hell). But how far is too far?
Those concerned about privacy likely will have none of this — nor the Alexa-based listening devices (home assistants). Or, for that matter, anything from the competition that do something similar like Google Home or the upcoming Apple HomePod.
For me, it’s an interesting novelty (Say it. Scan it. Ask Alexa.). If I get one it’ll be merely to test it, write about it here on Stark Insider, before it, like Alexa and so many non-essential gadgety gadgets ends up somewhere in the back of a drawer entangled with old USB charging cables and smartphone cases.
Amazon Wand continues an emerging macro trend. That is, with today’s machine learning, cloud-based services and autonomous bots, we’re surely gaining convenience. But, we’re likely also giving up privacy (and respect?). And I suspect we’re also giving up a bit of our souls.
BTW- the Amazon Dash Wand With Alexa is already a #1 best seller according to the Amazon web site. Heard from somewhere in Seattle: Hey Alexa, please print me more money.