Meet your new nanny, Aristotle
The time has come where even babies need a personal assistant. For years, Mattel has been manufacturing entertaining and innovative toys for children and now they’re hopping on the AI bandwagon with their newest release.
Mattel is now introducing Aristotle, an at-home assistant with extremely similar function and design as the Amazon Echo. The new device can work as a surrogate parent by answering questions, playing games and even reading bedtime stories to your kids.
Aristotle has two AI personalities. The first interacts and entertains your children. The second, which works the same as Amazon’s Alexa, is for parents.
Adults can use the device as a baby monitor and to shop for new products. Other features that Mattel have included are a light-up speaker and internet-connected camera. Such developments allow Aristotle to interact with their environment, enhancing play time by adding sound effects to toys and even recognizing your child’s voice.
Mattel predicts that Aristotle will end the long battle of people versus robotic devices when it comes to communication.
By reading “test paragraphs” aloud, Aristotle comes to recognize the unique speech of your child, even if you cannot always tell what they are saying.
Dependent from birth
While all the features of Aristotle seem promising, are they really necessary for children? It is no doubt that children will enjoy playing with a new toy, but at the end of the day, is it just one more distraction? While technology is no doubt a benefit to our society, such devices can teach dependence at a very young age.
For some, privacy is the bigger issue. Mattel has faced troubles in the past with hackers.
It was not too long ago that their “Hello Barbie Doll” provided hackers with live feed from the built-in microphone along with stored audio files. In addition, Mattel could use the information gathered from your child’s interactions with Aristotle to profile children and even share it with third party partners. It is the same way in which websites track our interactions in order to sell us relevant products.
Is it fair to expose children to this before they have a choice? Is it just another toy?