Cybernews podcast #24: AI mirror privacy nightmare explained

Imagine a smart mirror that doesn’t just reflect your image but also promises a full-blown soul-cleansing experience.

This is the reality in the 21st century. Baracoda, a French company, snagged the Innovation Award in the Smart Home category at the prestigious CES Tech Conference 2024 for just such an invention. Starting at £500, the company claims that the BMind Mirror will talk to you, read your mood, and even learn how to improve it.

In doing so, one pundit has claimed, smart mirrors reawaken the child in us, tapping into age-old beliefs that mirrors are magical. But is the AI-connected mirror really all it’s cracked up to be, or just another high-tech toy that we’ll toss away after it gets boring?

This week, the Cybernews podcast is stepping into the world of smart mirrors.

The mental health app market is a big one – its size is estimated at $7.5 billion in 2024. By the end of the decade, it will grow to $17.5 billion. No wonder more and more companies are tapping into the growing demand for technology to improve one’s mental health.

While there’s little public detail on the technology behind the BMind smart mirror, its marketing says that if you are having a bad day, the mirror will encourage you to practice mindfulness or use lights, visuals, and sounds to provide an immersive, supposedly soul-cleansing experience.

If you’re into mindfulness, it might sound appealing. However, from a privacy standpoint, you are looking at a mirror with a built-in camera and audio system in the most private space in your home – the bathroom. You might hang it somewhere else, of course, but would you still want others to see what you do in front of the mirror?

While, naturally, the company says that your data is safe with them, how much do you want to risk it?

Not only can it detect and recognize your voice, it also has a Face ID lock, meaning it can probably map your identity to your activity in front of the mirror.

But maybe it’s worth it for some.

“Technology that can monitor for subtle changes in health has the potential of improving the quality of millions of lives. Our mental state exerts a strong effect on our sense of physical well-being. Including mood in our daily wellness check-ins creates a fuller picture that represents a powerful step toward redefining preventative health,” Thomas Serval, CEO of Baracoda.

Taking care of your mental health is important, of course. But so is privacy. Tune in to learn more.