Barbie has had a lot of careers over the years: police, doctor, pilot, engineer, programmer, … but an eavesdropper?
The Hello Barbie might just make her step into this new role.
Mattel has just released the Hello Barbie, its very first interactive doll. Kids can engage it in conversations, play games with it, and and more. It’ll even remember information the child gives it, such as hobbies and interests.
Its secret is the embedded microphone that activates at the touch of a button during conversation. It then uploads the voice clip to a cloud server via Wifi, where voice detection technology helps the doll make sense of the information. It also stores other kinds of information, so that Barbie can make suggestions to the child based on previous input.
Watch the video below:
The Hello Barbie made its debut at the 2015 American International Toy Fair. Sparks have begun to fly as piracy activists are petitioning Mattel to remove the doll.
“Kids using Hello Barbie aren’t only talking to a doll,” shares Susan Linn, director for Campaign for a Commercial-Free childhood. “They are talking directly to a toy conglomerate whose only interest in them is financial.”
Campaign for Commercial-Free Childhood worries that Mattel may use the information inputed by kids to sneak in advertorial messages in their playtime — much like the way special marketing technology surveys customer in-store activity to pitch suggestions to them on what to buy next.
Questions about security and privacy around the doll have also begun to fly on social media.
Seriously though – if Hello Barbie picks up something like “why does my dad hit me so much” should the company report it?
— Dr Sir Catie (@liedra) March 13, 2015
What do you think? Cast your vote below:
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