Tag: conspiracy theories

Mapping capabilities of Roomba raises concern

Roombas are mapping people’s homes while cleaning the floor.

Clean-MapRoombas, the small robotic vacuum cleaners, were made to help people reduce the amount of housework. However, iRobot, the company that makes Roomba, made their two latest models, 960 and 980, able to map out the floor plan of the home. Most people thought this was so the robot could function around the rooms better, so it would bump into fewer objects and accomplish a better vacuuming job.

However, Colin Angel, who is the CEO of iRobot, said that the company has access to all of the maps and plans on selling the maps to other companies, such as Google and Amazon. iRobot later came out saying that their CEO misspoke, and that the company has no intention of “selling” the mapping data. They also said that they are wanting to provide the data, with the consent of customers, to other companies to help improve smart homes and devices.

What may be true is that they are not going to “sell” the data. But how are they going to get the consent of customers? Will it be in the long agreement that everyone has to approve before using? If so, hardly any body reads that, including me, and then the company has “your permission” to give out the mapping data of your house.

iRobot has not said specifically how they are going to ask permission. To me, that seems a little sketchy. Also, why does iRobot need to map out your house, store it in their data base, and “give” it to other companies to help smart technology? To me, that does not make a lot of sense. I do not understand how a map of someone’s home could possibly help companies improve smart technology.

Another issue I have with this is how do we know who the company is giving the information to? Will the company give the data to the government? iRobot saying they are wanting the information to help smart technology could just be a ploy for helping the government spy on us.

Will this mapping data just end up as more ads for us? Everyone already knows that roombaspycookies remember what you search and then puts ads on Facebook and other social media sites that go hand in hand with what was searched. Will furniture companies be able to gain the mapping data, and then contact customers in order to try to upgrade furniture?

Other questions that are valid are what happens if iRobot’s data base gets hacked? Then that hacker has maps of many houses. Will that hacker then use it to rob a house?

On a positive note, could this data help people if their house burns down? Would finance companies give them more money if they could get the mapping layout for that house? What if that house is sold? Will iRobot delete the map of that house if the new owners don’t want to consent?

Because Roomba maps out each room, does the company know what room your children sleep in by the room where it bumps into the most toys?

What iRobot is doing could be a catastrophe and could hurt individuals.  Not to mention that the house map storing feature has “sketchy” written all over it, especially since it sounds like the Roomba models 960 and 980 have already been mapping customer’s houses without notice or the permission of customers.

Is iRobot making a robot that is helping with house chores, or is it a robot to spy on us? Personally, I believe it’s more of a spying tool, a way for the company to make more money for themselves, and they are just telling us that it will help with the smart home technology.

Formation of conspiracy theories creates more questions than answers

All throughout history, Americans have demonstrated high levels of suspicion toward centralized authority and unexplained events.

In April 2015, there was a study conducted by Scott Radnitz and Patrick Underwood to determine whether the belief in conspiracy theories is pathological, or if they are linked to social tensions.

In this survey, random subjects were given mock news articles to bring about conspiracy beliefs. The results show that these different opinions can emerge from both “situational triggers” as well as “subtle contextual variables.”

I think that often these opinions can go far beyond a general distrust, and ultimately it expresses the essential fears of many individuals. The possibility of supporting conspiracy theories could be strongly projected by a willingness to believe in other unseen or intentional forces. Many of these theories are also created by people who make judgments or try to explain phenomena in certain social or political situations.

Today, there are theories on subjects ranging from Chemtrails to debating if Earth is flat. Although those are only two of various topics that have been brought about, I believe all theories share one common factor.

636232085399256659-978523634_social-media-account-management-issues-businessIt’s the feeling of powerlessness that drives individuals to formulate conspiracy theories. It helps regain a sense of confidence, and it also helps engage in collective action within society, whether it is to bring peace to one’s self or to try to create chaos.

It’s hard to say where I stand when it comes to the idea of understanding and discussing a theory, no matter the topic. For example, I have had many unrealistic but logical conversations about the Illuminati or Reptilian Elites taking over our government. With those type of discussions, I end up leaning more toward it may not be true.

To seek explanations and to constantly ask why certain events happen the way they do is simply a natural human desire. I’m not stating that these theories cannot be true. Through my own research, I’ve found that the Illuminati was a cult that existed in 1776, and possibly even before that. However, when arguing if it is a cult that still exists to this day, the idea of a secret society within our own to create a New World Order seems highly unlikely, but not impossible.

On the other hand, when it comes to deliberations such as if the moon landing was filmed in Hollywood or if Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in the JFK assassination, when looking at solid facts and different points of views, it can be hard to even consider what the truth could be. Of course, there are hundreds of different ways to look at a theory and to evaluate specific events before and after it took place. But it can be hard uncovering the truth if there even is something to discover to begin with.

That’s what I find to be somewhat terrifying about the world that we live in. We never truly know what is going on around us. Within our own government or even in our home towns, the world is full of dark secrets. Many truths have been buried so deep they may never be uncovered again.