Alexa Powered Astro Makes Debut, Influencers Give Industries the Middle Finger, Instagram for Kids Paused

I’m ready for a wild night! Mark Starling is in the his-ouse and I wished work wasn’t bogging me down. I spent the last two days at the AWS Public Sector Summit and today I’m on the roof with Mark Starling, Seth, John, and the First News 570 crew. This week’s top tech stories: Amazon asks you to apply to buy its latest product, Instagram for Kids is paused by Facebook, and brand influencers cuss out the industries they flaunt. You can listen to Mark and I point and laugh while talking about the wild and crazy technology world every Thursday morning, LIVE at 6:43am Eastern.

That’s the Same Expression My Wife Gives Me


Not the mini-van. For the past two days, yours truly was one of the denizens of the AWS faithful and attended the AWS Public Sector Summit in Washington, DC. I haaaddd a ball, but it was work. Yesterday, while I was getting my last hobnob in with AWS executives, the company with the Smile on the Box announced Astro. A $999 robot you have to apply to buy. Astro is a household robot for home monitoring. It’s an Alexa powered, motorized little gadget with cameras, speakers, and a microphone for you to keep an eye on your stuff. It has a detachable cupholder that can also be used for bringing you drinks, snacks, and other miscellaneous items. Despite being an Alexa powered monitoring device, Astro is built for data privacy according to Amazon and can have its cameras, microphones and other sensors turned off. I think Astro is adorable. Amazon’s developers on the other hand disagree with Amazon having to come to Astro’s defense even before its released. Amazon engineers have said Astro is actually terrible, and has been known to roll itself down the stairs ending its digital life. Furthermore, leaks as reported by Vice has said Astro’s parts are prone to breaking. Look, I think this is great. My parents bought my sister and I remote controlled robot with a serving tray and microphone. I loved the thing! I hope Astro thrives. Astro is available by invite only. You know what I’ve done. I bow down to our robot overlords.

Robie…I Miss You


The influence economy, you know the market of people who aren’t celebrities, but are Internet celebrities with lots of followers who wear, flaunt, and review brand items; is estimated to be a $13.7 billion industry. For many years, product companies who wish to push their brand names would seek out social media users with large followings and hire them to become brand ambassadors asking influencers to write reviews and posts about their products. Well, that industry is a rules-less Thunderdome fraught with scams and with influencers getting paid little to promote brands while commanding a large following. Well, enough is enough says former model and finance maven Lindsey Lee Lugrin. She has launched the site, F*** You, Pay Me. FYPM is a place where influencers can compare the payouts brands are offering to influencers and have better bargaining positions with companies before trolling their products to the masses. There are other sites highlighting the pay disparities between male and female influencers and pointing out the exploitation in industry. I hope FYPM works for the industry. Yours truly is an ambassador for Kadozi. Check’em out.


Facebook has decided to pause the release of a specialized Instagram experience for kids and teenagers. They decided to pause the app after the Wall Street Journal had written a story about leaked internal documents saying FB’s own research showed the app was harmful for teenaged girls. Facebook has since, uhhh; clapped back (I think that’s what the young people say), saying that the WSJ didn’t understand Facebook’s research and the data that was collected. We’ve talked about on FN570 and Fox about how social media applications can be toxic for people especially around the issues of body image, FOMO, and jealousy. For young and developing minds and esteems the negative experiences from social media can be multiplied. The fact of the matter is that social media enhances the positive and negative aspects of the human experience. We should all be more careful how consume these products and how our precious data is used.


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