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By Alyssa Newcomb

LAS VEGAS — When Mita Yun gives a demo of the cute, cat-like pet robot Kiki, which includes microphones and a camera in its nose, she broaches the issue of privacy before even being asked.

Yun — the co-founder and CEO of Zoetic, the company based in Santa Clara, California, that is behind Kiki — is quick to point out that the “AI companion” can recognize your face but doesn’t relay that information over the internet.

“Kiki’s entire brain is only on the device,” she said. The robot only communicates over the internet to receive software updates.

In years past, that kind of clarification might have been of interest only to the tech-savvy or privacy conscious. But at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show, privacy considerations were top of mind.

Among the first sights to greet the thousands of entrepreneurs, executives and industry technorati outside the Las Vegas Convention Center was a billboard from Apple: “What happens on your iPhone, stays on your iPhone.”



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