Do we really need artificial intelligence in a toothbrush?

We may be living in the dawn of the smart device, but an AI-boosted toothbrush is as stupid as it sounds.



I’m frequently reminded by the musings of Doctor Ian Malcolm, who said that “your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they should.”

Artificial intelligence is certainly going that way. It all started quite well. A speaker that tells us things and steals our data, sure. An AI that discovered our darkest fears and exploit them for inappropriate laughs, ok. I’ll even give you the robot-cop that drowned itself on the job as a positive. But would you want an AI-assisted toothbrush?

Of course you wouldn’t.

Officially known as the Oral-B GENIUS X with Artificial Intelligence (retail $220), the device hopes to “leverage data from sensors inside the brush head and Bluetooth to deliver AI-derived brushing tips through an app.”

The above quote was from Futurism, who also noted that “the company claims to have learned how to brush teeth real good by ‘deepening our understanding of consumer behaviour across 60 countries’…Oral-B has created an algorithm from more than 2,000 brushing sessions to gain exclusive insights into brushing behaviours from around the world, per an incredulous press release.”

So, no. We don’t need this – but it indicates a much larger issue. We’re seeing the birth of AI-abetted marketing obfuscation. Modern tech is so imbued in our lives, so prescient, we see it as the solution of issues we didn’t know we had. We’re seeing the modernisation of the snake oil salesman. Sure, you need an AI for your possessions when you can’t see them. Yes, you can open your car with an app, and it can tell you when you’re low on milk, we’re living in a smarter time. Don’t be stupid.

As Devin Coldewey of Tech Crunch noted, “just because a device isn’t quite as dumb as the one you’ve been using for 30 years, that doesn’t make it smart. On the contrary, these claims of intelligence are… artificial.”




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