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Sunday, December 20, 2015

Smart Talking Toys as Virtual Assistants

A kind of extension to the virtual assistant idea.   Toys that can engage, inform, aid, teach.  It is already here with advisors like Cortana, Alexa and Siri on a phone or tablet.  But is a toy a different kind of channel that requires more care?  Yes, I believe.   Will also get kids used to the idea of using virtual assistants.

In the WSJ:  (Registration, etc)
Talking Toys Are Getting Smarter: Should We Be Worried?
Internet-connected talking dolls like Hello Barbie that can actually converse are bewitching kids but unsettling parents. Are they really the menace critics have made them out to be? ... " 

One of the toy examples, a dinosaur called Dino, from Cognitoys, is said to be based on some Watson technology, and claims to provide a 'true companion'.   The article talks to MIT device psychology commentator Sherry Turkle about how such toys can mislead children.  The article discusses how the conversational data provided by children could be mis used.

Consider also the strong engagement factor formerly seen by the Tamagotchi toys.  Or from attempts at leveraging apparent intelligence in the toy.  With little help from biomorphic forms .   Previously talked about here.

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