Newborns and nurseries are the new frontier for AI-powered cameras

Startups are slinging a slew of cameras to keep an eye on your baby. Pediatricians and privacy experts are a little creeped out.


February 25, 2020

Would you trust your newborn to artificial intelligence?

Sounds like something straight out of The Matrix. But companies are slinging a slew of AI-powered baby monitors that keep a close eye on lil Keanu, according to The Washington Post.

Pediatricians and privacy experts point out that there’s no government-issued evidence to back up claims that the devices save lives.

But they’re still popular — here’s how they work

They record lil Keanu’s movements and alert his parents whenever he moves, cries, vomits, or covers his adorable lil Keanu face. 

Oh, and they do something else: They play right into the fears of anxious new parents.

  • One company, Cubo AI, says it has sold ~10k devices. Its chief strategy officer told the Post that “fear is the quickest way to get people’s attention.”
  • Other firms sell head-to-tiny-toes surveillance solutions. Like Nanit’s “complete monitoring system,” which runs for $379.

A Cubo owner told the Post his system successfully alerted his family when his son had pulled a blanket over his face.

But AI is imperfect, and AI in the nursery is no exception

The error rates of facial recognition algorithms have been shown to vary widely, depending on factors like race and gender. Few of them have been used on small children, and kids’ faces are less distinct than adults — meaning the bots might have even more trouble telling them apart.

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