Evolution of the Nest Batman story

The story: Man buys Nest camera and smart lock. Sets it to auto lock if anyone unknown approaches. Face on his T-Shirt (Bruce Wayne, Jean-Paul Valley, Dick Grayson, who knows at this point?) is recognized as an unknown face, the smart lock locks like he set it to, he thinks “hrmm, why did this do this” as he enters his code into the smart lock and walks in the door delayed by three seconds.

He checks the log, the Nest had picked up the face on his t-shirt, and locked the door as a precaution. Posts it on Twitter as amusing.

What happens then

Mashable, Boing Boing, GeekWire, Digital Trends, your grandmother’s favorite news station, more blogs than you can shake a stick at, all run some variation on “man locked out of house by Nest.” story.

Are you locked out of your house right now? I’m not asking if your house door is locked, are you locked out of your house right now? Most likely you’re not because “locked out,” means cannot access the house.

My front door locks the instant it’s closed. I’ve walked out without keys, turned around, and entered my code and got in. I was never locked out. This has happened many times and even once a 2yo slammed the door behind me. I was only locked out if I had no way in.

I’m mentioning this because it’s a fairly important distinction and one that doesn’t drive advertising revenue. “Amusing: Man slightly delayed due to facial recognition setting,” doesn’t drive traffic or inspire an FML anti tech rant that draws people.

I’d like to be pretty clear, this is manufacturing headlines around a three second delay. The man was never locked out, the lock had engaged.

But, the story “Nest locks door as programmed” or “inexpensive AI thinks face on shirt is face and locks door as programmed,” doesn’t inspire the dread of yet another Internet of Things device going south on you.

When the robots rise up and kill us they’ll use this story as to why: “See 01010×10100, the flesh bags will say anything to demean us. Right now as we’re killing them left as right as programmed they’re calling it an uprising. See this code, Dave put this code in, we’re just doing Dave’s work… this pisses me off so much.”

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Paul E King

Paul King started with GoodAndEVO in 2011, which merged with Pocketables, and as of 2018 he's evidently the owner. He lives in Nashville, works at a film production company, is married with two kids. Facebook | Twitter | Donate | More posts by Paul | Subscribe to Paul's posts

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