Smart stuffed animals, talking dolls, interactive toys. These are just a few of the futuristic toys that are becoming a reality. What does that mean for you?
Well, it depends on who you are. If you are a child, this means that you should have quite a lot of new interesting and engaging ways to play. For parents though things might not be that simple. Most of these new intelligent toys need constant internet connection and transmit data to remote servers. This may be a big privacy concern for some parents who don’t want their children’s play habits and interests to be calculated and analyzed by machines.
There are already some toys with basic artificial intelligence out on the market. One of the latest is Mattel’s Hello Barbie which should be in the stores next month. It will do exactly that – it will use your WiFi connection to transfer the conversations between it and the child and a special remote server and algorithm will choose appropriate responses to a child’s question. The doll will even remember conversational points from the past, which means they will be stored somewhere.
Another toy – Green Dino by Elemental Path will be released this December, NDTV reports. It will use IBM’s Watson intelligent supercomputer in order to be able to answer children’s questions. It will also be able to learn and adapt according to the questions a child asks.
Google is developing an internet-connected teddy bear which will be able to control the home. It is meant to be like a safeguard allowing parents to keep an eye on their children at home from everywhere and control vital home appliances and features remotely.
The next main goal for toymakers is to make the intelligent toys less creepy and more realistic. Currently they are very robotic which detaches children from the toys. Specialists though are split on whether realistic toys with artificial intelligence are good or bad for children, even when leaving the privacy concerns aside. Toys have a very important role in the development of a child so perhaps it is best if the really advanced ones are left for when a child has already grown enough to be able to speak and read.
There are still quite a lot unanswered questions in this field. At first these toys will be mostly for “geeks” who love technology gadgets and will love to play around with them. Slowly but surely though children will also become more and more used to them as they did with smartphones and tablets. For these gadgets experts say that at first the use of smartphones and tablets should be limited so that the child can grow and develop in various areas and not focus too much on video games. Perhaps this is a good solution for toys with artificial intelligence, too.