Although there are concerns about privacy with Mattel's Hello Barbie, the technology behind it is able to take a formerly inanimate ojbect and albeit not good enough to pass a Turing test give children the impression the toy is alive.
This summer, when I visited Mattel’s sprawling campus in El Segundo, a prototype of Hello Barbie stood in the middle of a glass-topped conference table, her blond tresses parted on the right and cascading down to her left shoulder. She looked like your basic Barbie, but Aslan Appleman, a lead product designer, explained that her thighs had been thickened slightly to fit a rechargeable battery in each one; a mini-USB charging port was tucked into the small of her back.
A microphone, concealed inside Barbie’s necklace, could be activated only when a user pushed and held down her belt buckle. Each time, whatever someone said to Barbie would be recorded and transmitted via Wi-Fi to the computer servers of ToyTalk. Speech-recognition software would then convert the audio signal into a text file, which would be analyzed. The correct response would be chosen from thousands of lines scripted by ToyTalk and Mattel writers and pushed to Hello Barbie for playback — all in less than a second.
‘‘Barbie, what is your full name?’’ Appleman asked the doll as I watched.
‘‘Oh, I thought you knew,’’ Barbie replied. ‘‘My full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts.’’
|Classroom Aquatic: Oculus Rift Game Where You Play a Cheating Dolphin|
|8-bit NYC: Where Zelda meets Google Maps|
|3D Infographic Maps Built with Lego|
|Hatetris: It's Tetris, With Hate|
|“The direction of the cost of storage is less clear and depends on metals prices.”|
|Facebook, Twitter Users Could Face Insurance Hikes|
|“The era of climate wars has begun.”|
|How to Avoid Jury Duty|
|The (Very Scary) People of Public Transit|
|“Bias, error, and misuse of Artificial Intelligence technologies.”|
|“We need to make algorithms transparent, regulated, and forgiving of the flawed creatures that converse with them.”|
|Naked Preacher Lady [NSFW]|
|CaptchaTweet: Write Tweets in Captcha Form|
|Boardwalk Empire: Time Lapse Video|
|Fake Name Generator|