Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Group Says ‘Hell No’ To Doll Having a Voice

Image: Hello Barbie

Hello Barbie is displayed at the Mattel showroom at the North American International Toy Fair in New York. Mark Lennihan / AP

                                        Good Day World!

The first talking doll was introduced 125 years ago to the amazement and delight of parents everywhere. Today the idea of a talking doll is controversial. 

The doll in question is Barbie, an iconic doll who made her debut 56 years ago. By the end of this month Mattel plans on introducing the first Hello Barbie.

You’d think parents would be delighted with this new version of Barbie, but that hasn’t been the case thus far.

The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC), a group opposed to marketing aimed at children, launched a campaign to discourage parents from buying Hello Barbie (#HellnoBarbie).

So what happened in the last 125 years that makes a talking doll so sinister? Simply put, the first talking doll could not record anything like the new Talking Barbie does.

She is the first Internet-connected doll that can carry on a seemingly real conversation by recording what the child says and sending it via Wi-Fi to the cloud for Barbie's computer-generated response.

Here’s the rub: these conversations are stored and analyzed by ToyTalk, the San Francisco software company that makes this interaction possible.

Here’s where the controversy really gets interesting:

Mattel released a Thomas and Friends Talk to You app in 2014, based on the popular Thomas the Train character, that uses the same voice-recognition technology to communicate with children and it was a big hit with parents!

Mattel basically took that app and put it into Hello Barbie. Hmmmmm…

Time for me to walk on down the road…






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