28 Feb 2017
Thanks for breaking our connected homes, Amazon.

What the s3 outage taught us about the connected home, cloud computing, and how we can avoid that going forward. by Rand Hindi More than a few folks got back from lunch today to find that their lightbulbs weren’t working. They couldn’t play that post-lunch smooth jazz … Nor could they turn off their …oven. Or … open their […]

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5 Dec 2016
A tale of two Product Hunts

This is the number of times privacy came up in Snips first Product hunt.  4 times. (and one time was by Rand, our CEO) This was six months ago.  Snips team has always been obsessed with creating amazing, private AI technology, but six months ago, the Product Hunt community latched onto other aspects of our […]

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2 Nov 2016
She's Just Not That Into You — Why Our AI Assistants Still Feel So Distant

Broken Promises Some of tech’s wisest contemplators have started to call out a failed relationship that we’ve all been aware of for years. Both Walt Mossberg and Fast Company have recently broke the silence, questioning why our dear friend Siri has been tripping over her words lately and missing the little things that we can […]

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12 Oct 2016
One snapshot of your life in an Uber, one giant leap for Private AI

Snips is back with a new participatory research project! This one will train our AI to recognize travel receipts in your email, and in return, we’ll shoot you a visualization of Your Life In Uber. Cue the violins!    We’ll also show you just how many seasons of Mr. Robot you spent commuting … and whether […]

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4 Oct 2016
What's your hope for AI? The Snips AI Wishlist

This one’s exciting. So, when many people we talk to hear AI, they think … robot. That ain’t it.  BUT the question is … — If AI isn’t a robot … WHAT IS IT?  “There are naive questions, tedious questions, ill-phrased questions, questions put after inadequate self-criticism. But every question is a cry to understand […]

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3 Oct 2016
The Snippet #5: Cars that Take Themselves to the Shop, Tidal Shifts in Internet Use and Monkey Brains

While Google was unleashing an AI taskforce to battle trolls, these were the cherries on top of the proverbial AI banana split.  1) I’ve heard of a smart car, but this is ridiculous! Your car’s gonna use AI to tell you when to fix it AND when you’re near your favorite sandwich. Plus, dashboardWaze.  2) The way people are using […]

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29 Sep 2016
The Snippet #4: Privacy-offs, cringey AI beauty standards and de-biased data

The Snippet #4: Privacy-offs, cringey AI beauty standards and de-biased data While IDEO designer Arianna McClain reminded us all that data is actually people, these 3 things made us say touché in the fencing match that is AI. 1)  Privacy gets competitive. Google can’t stop talking about October 4th (They’re launching something). Can they compete with Apple’s […]

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22 Sep 2016
The Snippet #3: Computers vs. Cancer Cells, Privacy and AI's Non-Trade Off, Democratizing AI with Elon Musk

While Snips CEO Rand Hindi was saying some real truths in his new TEDx talk, these 3 things were blipping on the AI news radar.  1)  Molecular computers fighting cancer with AI.  Microsoft thinks nanotechnology could reprogram the human body. And they’re not alone. .. nor are they the first!  2)  The internet had a mini-freakout about Google’s Allo. Snowden […]

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22 Sep 2016
How your phone's barometer is secretly an underground GPS

You deserve more from your barometer.  And it might not be long before you get what you deserve. A world where air pressure data has an everyday use, and not just for the weatherman, is upon us. GIF via Family Guy How? A barometer and a timer + AI = underground GPS The first barometer was invented […]

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15 Sep 2016
How do you use emotions in your texts?

In order to be useful to real people, Snips needs data from real people. People like you! You in? In return, we’ve got a pretty fascinating visual of how you use emotions in your texts. Contribute to AI research, and Snips will show you a snapshot of your texting style ? how you use emotions […]

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15 Sep 2016
The Snippet #2: AI in ur Netflix, Barometric GPS, Machines that *reason*

While you were perusing the magnificent list of Women in Machine Learning … these 3 ice cubes were at the tip of our AI iceberg this week.   1)  How did Netflix know to suggest Post-Apocalyptic Comedies About Friendship? It uses AI to put its data to work. No word yet on it if can also bring back Barb! 2) […]

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8 Sep 2016
The Snippet #1: AI Einstein, Spotify's ears, Apple's privacy play

Hi. Rand here.   I’d like to thank you personally for your interest in the human-centric AI we’re building at Snips.  As a founding member of this community, you now have access to the latest AI technology from us … and to The Snippet, three bullet points each Thursday to get the right conversations happening about […]

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24 Aug 2016
Artificial Intelligence + Real Human Life can be great. Let's talk about it.

Hi. We’re the Snips blog. Here we’ll be connecting the dots about what AI and privacy mean in the complex, fun, annoying, weird and interesting world we all live in. Expect to find interviews with people who you might not expect*, what happens when tech disappears (yes, really!), explorations of where AI’s showing up in […]

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They couldn’t play that post-lunch smooth jazz …

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More on why I can’t turn my lights on and can’t listen to music: https://t.co/pE1VOIaQfI

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— Stuart Thomas (@stuartthomas) February 28, 2017

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Nor could they turn off their …oven.

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Not to raise alarm here or anything, but I'm unable to turn off my #IoT oven ever since #s3 went down…

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It's getting kinda toasty in here

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— P̶̻̖̯̗R͜O̥@ °.• 🍍🦉 (@_pronto_) February 28, 2017

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Or … open their garage.

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Joys of the @internetofshit – AWS goes down. So does my TV remote, my light controller, even my front gate. Yay for 2017.

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— Brian (@Hamster_Brian) February 28, 2017

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Amazon’s s3, a cloud-based storage service that powers many gadgets, most of the Internet of Things, and a very large number of websites ….was down.

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A fail whale that lands not just online, but … in your home.

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That moment when a s3 outage means your home won't work https://t.co/AE6mYcv28X

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— Snips (@snips) February 28, 2017

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This awkward moment was brought to you by the fact that all cloud-based IoT running on top of Amazon depend on both an internet connection as well as operational servers. This debacle could have been avoided if connected devices could run offline, and weren’t dependent on the cloud.

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With Amazon S3 Down We are all old men pic.twitter.com/aT5EXe9ieM

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— Such _Politics (@SuchPolitics) February 28, 2017

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So what’s a cloud-based IoT like?

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Right now if you have a cloud-based IoT lightbulb, every time you switch it on, the control hub sends a request to the cloud, gets a response back, and then sends a radio signal to the lightbulb. It travels thousands of miles, sending data around, just to turn on a light that’s a few meters away. That’s the modern equivalent of having to call your electricity provider each time you want to turn your physical lights on or off!

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So is everyone with connected lightbulbs somehow run through s3 just … in the dark right now? No cloud. No light. That’s how fragile we’re becoming with all these unnecessary layers of complexity.

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A connected home on the cloud quickly evaporates when the cloud goes down.

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Having a connected home that runs on a cloud server is akin to having a lock on your door and being forced by a corporation to hand over the key.

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What are the chances that this corporation will make it all the way to your house, turn the key and …turn your lights off permanently? The chances are small. But still — you shouldn’t be forced to hand over the keys.

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“I can’t turn down the temperature in my house because S3 is down”

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Good damn grief. #IoT

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— Ƞ₳₮ĦȺ₦ ĦɄ฿Ƀ₳ɌÐ (@n8foo) February 28, 2017

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Today’s events definitely opened our eyes to what a dependency on cloud services means to our lives. It showed us how vulnerable we have become.

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We’re in the thick of an issue with cloud-based IoT that’s also wildly solvable.

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While the s3 outage literally leaves folks in the dark (connected lightbulbs) … Snips has been advocating for on-device tech for years pic.twitter.com/85yXPSHycM

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— Snips (@snips) February 28, 2017

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Your IoT services could run on-device, meaning they aren’t reliant on an internet connection, or the cloud. This also allows them to be Private by Design, meaning none of your personal data needs to be sent server side (like your info that flies to Amazon after every query to Alexa…).

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Your IoT should be Private by design, running without needing the cloud.

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A private-by-design IoT is one that would be much more impervious to cloud issues. More likely to protect you, the user.

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IoT is G-O-O-D if it's made to work https://t.co/2TdH6vijF6

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— Snips (@snips) February 28, 2017

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A connected home, IoT, your Spotify playlist, your Alexa skills … they SHOULD (and as you might now be realizing, can) be running on-device.

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No talking to cloudy servers, just you, your IRL IoT and … a functioning home.

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If only there were a team of smart folks working on on-device tech … oh wait.

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There is.

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This is why we spend so much effort doing AI on device at @snips. Doing things in the cloud creates dependency https://t.co/fr9ZldLlrw

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— Rand Hindi (@randhindi) February 28, 2017

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It’s us.

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Device running Snips are currently working just fine while s3 is down.

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Handcooking my smart bulbs controller (in @rustlang) sure took me some time and energy, but they DO work tonight. https://t.co/oO9zTfS0cY

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— Mathieu Poumeyrol (@kalizoy) February 28, 2017

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This could be you, IoT community!

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Right now, while IoT is in its beginnings, there’s a dark schadenfreude to pointing fingers at everyone whose fancy connected home doesn’t work.

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But we’re not that far from a future where IoT is more ubiquitous. And therefore, more likely to put us in danger. We’re not far from a future where IoT isn’t just inside fancy connected homes, but inside the infrastructure of our cities, our schools, our highways, our airplanes … you get the picture.

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Cloud based locks failed today. But what happens when autonomous cars run their AI in the cloud … and the cloud goes down?

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Handcooking my smart bulbs controller (in @rustlang) sure took me some time and energy, but they DO work tonight. https://t.co/oO9zTfS0cY

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— Mathieu Poumeyrol (@kalizoy) February 28, 2017

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Yes, the s3 outage is a doofy internet blooper. But if we’re not careful about creating a stronger future for IoT, that doofy blooper has the danger of scaling to a larger nightmare.

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A stronger future for IoT is one that includes on-device and privacy by design.

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Right now IoT is contained to banal household items — lightbulbs, locks, ovens. But imagine a world where IoT and artificial intelligence are more ubiquitous.

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Imagine a future where the AI assistants that are integrated in to your cloud-based devices — and into your life — break down. What does that mean to your home? Your family? To you?

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The s3 outage today taught us that there are real problems with cloud-based IoT and AI. The future could be dark (literally). But it doesn’t have to be.

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The s3 outage likely marked the end of complacency, but the beginning of something better.

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Here’s hoping it signals the beginning of innovation. The real beginning of an era of consumer IoT and AI products that think deeply about user privacy, security and lifestyle — products that don’t just work for you, but work with you.

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Your connected devices should work. Simple as that. https://t.co/cikIkAKreq

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— Snips (@snips) February 28, 2017

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This piece was cross-posted from our Medium blog

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What the s3 outage taught us about the connected home, cloud computing, and how we can avoid that going forward. by Rand Hindi More than a few folks got back from lunch today to find that their lightbulbs weren’t working. They couldn’t play that post-lunch smooth jazz … Nor could they turn off their …oven. Or … open their […]

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