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Talking Barbie Says Hello, Parents Say Goodbye
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Talking Barbie Says Hello, Parents Say Goodbye

Barbie, who turns 56 this 12 months, lastly might get a voice of her personal — however opponents are working exhausting to maintain the speaking model of the long-lasting doll out of kids’s palms — and houses.

Mattel plans to deliver out Whats up Barbie in time for Christmas.

Nonetheless,
Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood has organized an
online petition calling on Mattel CEO Christopher Sinclair to cease manufacturing of the toy.

Here is how Whats up Barbie works: A child presses on the doll’s belt buckle and speaks right into a microphone within the doll’s necklace. A man-made intelligence system processes and analyzes that speech within the cloud. Responses are then streamed again to the doll, who replies to the child — throughout a safe WiFi connection to the Web.

“Youngsters tend to have notably intimate conversations with dolls and stuffed animals,” noticed Josh Golin, affiliate director of CCFC.

“They open up to them and reveal issues about themselves in a approach that youngsters are a lot much less prone to do if enjoying with an app,” he informed TechNewsWorld. Whats up Barbie “might be eavesdropping on kids’s private and personal conversations extra so than with speaking apps.”

Whats up Mom, Whats up Father

Many mother and father agree with CCFC — the petition has drawn greater than 5,400 signatures because it was posted on-line per week in the past, surpassing its modest 2,000-signature aim.

“We count on to garner way more,” Golin mentioned. “We imagine that the backlash towards Mattel will solely proceed to develop, and that they may acknowledge that Whats up Barbie will do their model way more hurt than good.”

Mattel didn’t reply to our request to remark for this story.

What Powers Whats up Barbie

Whats up Barbie will use know-how from San Francisco-based startup
ToyTalk, which can also be behind the Winston Present — a children’ iPad sport app that interacts with gamers — and the SpeakaLegend cellular iOS app.

ToyTalk makes use of Amazon’s S3 platform.

The corporate’s AI and speech know-how are written in C++ with iOS and Android purchasers constructed on prime.
Its desktop authoring software program is written in Python and PyQt. The server code is written in Go, and ToyTalk supplies a RESTful Internet API to construct Internet-based conversational purchasers.

Why All of the Angst

ToyTalk’s
privacy policy is what has individuals stirred up.

Basically, it says that utilizing any of the corporate’s providers constitutes giving ToyTalk permission to gather, use and disclose private data. Additional, those that let others (say, kids) use their account to entry the service affirm they’ve the proper to consent on their behalf to ToyTalk’s assortment, use and disclosure of their private data.

ToyTalk’s coverage additionally lets it gather audio, pictures and movies, in addition to demographic and private data supplied to it. The image seize characteristic could also be turned off, nonetheless.

ToyTalk additionally makes use of cookies to reap data.

Blocking the cookies, or not offering data deemed mandatory on signing up, might prohibit a person’s entry to some components of the service.

ToyTalk might use, transcribe and retailer collected recordings to offer and keep the service, in addition to to develop, check or enhance speech recognition know-how and AI algorithms, and for different R&D or inside functions.

Save the Youngsters!

ToyTalk’s knowledge assortment and use isn’t very totally different from what on-line websites do, actually, besides that the customers are children.

“There’s better sensitivity the place children are concerned,” mentioned Susan Schreiner, senior editor and analyst at C4 Trends.

Nonetheless, “We will be seeing extra of this … and the problem goes to be creating some type of requirements in relation to privateness,” she informed TechNewsWorld.

The Tried Reinvention of Retail

Like many aged, established names in retail, Mattel is making an attempt to reinvent itself in an always-connected world.

“It might be that they are looking at their properties and figuring find out how to make them related within the twenty first Century,” Schreiner mentioned. The market “is extra dynamic than it ever was by way of what individuals need, how they may purchase, and establishing a reference to the shopper.”

The main target now’s buyer engagement, she remarked, “so that you’re seeing totally different experiments at retail.”

Whats up Barbie is only one, with extra prone to come.
Talking Barbie Says Hello, Parents Say Goodbye


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