March 10, 2024

The Rabbit R1 chronicles.

Chapter 6: Privacy (and piracy) in the age of AI.

There always will be bad actors out there. You know: those who illegally take the advantage of opportunities. And today’s online privacy cracks and sketchy AI together present a huge opportunity. You have identity thieves and scammers who can use hacking combined with AI to automate their nefariousness. We’re also seeing signs that AI (by design or bad design) has taken it upon itself to collect data. Human data thieves know they’re breaking the law. And if you don’t program AI to work within the confines of the law, we can’t even comprehend the potential calamity.

When it comes to devices, it needs to be stated that just like your house—no matter how secure your device is—the thieves can get in. The question is: What do you have in there that’s worth the risk, effort and cost?

So where does Rabbit fit into this? I’m happy to say the Rabbit R1 will likely have the best of intentions because the company seems to be focused on your privacy.

Let’s take the device itself. The microphones on the Rabbit R1 are not on until you hold the button. The rotating eye (camera) is physically blocked until you call it up. And as a failsafe, when you lay R1 face down, all modes of input and output are disabled. So by its nature, R1 is likely safer than your phone as you have it set up right now. But security is not just about the Rabbit R1 itself: What about how it connects to your Rabbit Hole, AI and services?

But What happens if someone steals your device? It would be moot to steal an R1 to hack personal data and credentials since they’re not actually stored on there like on your phone. Wait a minute: how’s that possible without re-entering your username and password every time? There’s a secure process. Let’s use the example of pressing Rabbit’s button and ordering pizza. I use ordering a pizza as an example again because, well—I like to order a pizza.

  • Rabbit is a very personal device. It knows you by your voice. In a recent interview with founder Jesse Lyu Devin Coldewey of Techcrunch noted that R1 has voice ID, so it only responds to you. You can press Rabbit’s button and say Order my favorite pizza. But if someone else picks up your Rabbit tries to order pizza, Rabbit won’t do it. Even Rabbit (the company) won’t have access to your sensitive data. The next step is communicating your intention through secured WiFi or SIM data to your Rabbit Hole.
  • The Rabbit Hole is your secured personal environment in the cloud that you can access through a browser. Only your Rabbit can connect with your Rabbit Hole. And the Rabbit Hole is where the virtual machines of AI and LAM live. Once in the Rabbit Hole, you turn on the services. And you’re required to use the Rabbit itself to access the Rabbit Hole in a browser. You can’t login without it.
  • The service (as in connection to the pizza place you’re ordering from) is on a list of services Rabbit has already been trained to work with. You have to turn that particular service on and authenticate your credentials before you’ll be allowed to connect. (Eventually you’ll be able to train Rabbit on any service accessible through a browser.) You also connect your payment method here. You only have to do this once. The Rabbit Hole then calls up an agent when you command a pizza order.
  • An agent is like a private virtual clone of yourself. Just as you’d order pizza through a browser, your agent knows that process and will make the order for you. Your tribe of agents is kinda like your own tribe of secured minions that you’ve entrusted with doing your specific and approved web tasks for you.
  • Then there’s confirmation. A button appears on Rabbit’s screen and you confirm the order.

So once set up the process of ordering a pizza on Rabbit R1 is down to two steps compared to the Little Cesar’s app on my phone. On the phone, once Face ID has recognized me and I actually find the app, it’s continually asking me to tap, tap, tap, even when just re-ordering. And the process of ordering through Rabbit is as secure as the highest level of security on my iPhone.

No matter how secure Rabbit is, just like our phones, we’ll always be dependent on how secure the services are that we connect with. Very typically when you hear of a data breech, it happened to a service, not your device itself. As for the privacy of the AIs that Rabbit accesses: We’ll see once it’s here.

Read the next chapter: When is a camera not a camera

Check out the entire Chronicles.

I have no affiliation with Rabbit Inc. I’m just an early adopter. If you want to support this journey into the Rabbit, buying me a coffee below helps keep the articles coming.

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Chapter 7: When is a camera not really a camera? My iPhone 15 Pro Max can do 48mp images and 4K/60fps video and do it nearly as good as professional photo and video equipment. That’s what it was
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