Your child talks to her Barbie doll. Natural enough. Here’s what happens next, which is not natural at all. Mattel records your child’s intimate dialogue with her Barbie and sends that dialogue via Wifi to its cloud servers. There, voice-recognition software analyzes your child’s words and creates responses, pushing the “data” back at your child through a speaker in the Barbie.
Mattel will then “use, store, process and transcribe Recordings in order to provide and maintain the Service, to perform, test or improve speech recognition technology and artificial intelligence algorithms, or for other research and development and data analysis purposes.” In other words, your child’s thoughts will be recorded and kept permanently–so Mattel can do research and send her suggestions of other Mattel toys she might want, among the other seven million terrible things that could go wrong here. To have your child’s privacy invaded will cost you $74.99. “Hello Barbie” is scheduled for release this fall. Parents who already parent via a Disney movies on DVD players can’t wait.