Elon Musk Isn't So Sure About Google's 'Innocent' Clips AI Camera

Do you remember the movie The Circle with Tom Hanks and and Emma Watson? It was not all that great, though the message of user privacy is one that could serve as a cautionary tale to consumers. Tesla founder Elon Musk is certainly aware of what is at stake, and he took to Twitter to voice concern over Google's new AI-based camera, Google Clips.

Google Clips
Image Source: Google

In response to an article link on the new camera, Musk responded, "This doesn't even *seem* innocent." Musk has made his reservations about the potential downsides of artificial intelligence well known, and when you mix in privacy concerns, it is not too surprising to see him raise an eyebrow over Clips, a small tool that both records consumers and uses AI to some degree.

The primary purpose of AI integration into Google's camera is to recognize faces. Google says its new camera is "smart enough to recognize great expressions, lighting, and framing" in order to capture "beautiful, spontaneous images." It also gets "smarter over time," Google says. And in regards to privacy, Google notes that its camera does not require a network connection to capture or view anything.
"Simply connect Clips to your phone to check out what you've shot," Google says.

In a blog post, Google expanded on the topic of privacy, saying that Clips "looks like a camera, and lights up when it's on." Google also points out that "all the machine learning happens on the device itself... Just like any point-and-shoot, nothing leaves your device until you decide to save it and share it."

Musk did not elaborate on what exactly he fears Google is doing, though his online remarks are far from the first time that privacy has been a hot topic surrounding technology. Earlier this year, prosecutors in a murder trial wanted issued a subpoena to Amazon to share voice data that might have been captured by the defendant's Alexa-powered Echo smart speaker. Amazon initially fought the subpoena until the defendant gave his permission to share the data, but the situation highlighted how increasingly sophisticated and artificially intelligent technologies can affect a person's privacy.