A new Wi-Fi enabled Barbie called “Hello Barbie” has the internet talking, after Hello Barbie was revealed this week by Mattel, and joined the “internet of things” trend that makes just about everything from toys to cars to toasters and SUVs a mobile hotspot. But the features that have consumers buzzing about “Hello Barbie” is that the new Barbie dolls don’t just sit and stand there, getting bent like a gymnast and having their long manes of hair cut by playful little girls — these new “Hello Barbie” dolls can interact with those same children by recalling previous talks and listening and replying to kids who speak to “Hello Barbie” for a response.
Following dolls like Cayla — a toy already for sale in the U.K. that allows kids to chat with her — “Hello Barbie” is causing concern because Hello Barbie records children, reports Today. The new smart Barbie is like having one of the dolls from the Toy Story movies coming to life, in a way, and the Chief Technical Officer at Pixar at the time — Oren Jacob — told his children back then that their own toys couldn’t talk back to them, like in the movies. Jacob, now the CEO of ToyTalk, is at the head of a firm that has made the technology that enables “Hello Barbie” to chat for hours upon hours to children with apparently quite a repertoire of a script to make for interesting conversations along the way.
“You see that level of story and character crafted in films and books. We’re going to put that level of storytelling in toys.”
“Hello Barbie” accesses a database via WiFi in order for the technology to figure out what “Hello Barbie” is hearing from the children in order to send an appropriate response back to the child, and that is what is causing some of the highest chatter online.
While most online publications are praising the Hello Barbie for finally finding her voice after 56 years of being silent, as reported by CBS, other websites are shouting out fear-mongering headlines about an uncontrollable new Barbie that talks to children. Parents, however, will be informed about the type of data that the new “Hello Barbie” doll will collect, and the data requires a password to access. The “Hello Barbie” doll might have her work cut out for her in Nigeria, however, because the Queens of Africa dolls have outsold Barbie dolls in that region, as reported by the Inquisitr.
[Image via Today]