When children talk to toys, some are talking back

This holiday season, new toys are hitting the market that are smarter than ever: toys that talk with kids, connect to the cloud, even employ artificial intelligence. Mattel’s new “Hello Barbie” doll is the most visible example of this trend and the most controversial one, too. It hits stores in late November. The toy giant demonstrated the doll at the New York Toy Fair earlier this year. The technology powering “Hello Barbie’s” interactions, including remembering important information that children have shared (such as favorite colors and other likes) and referencing that information in future conversations, comes from the firm ToyTalk. Oren Jacob, a former Pixar executive, is a co-founder and said the doll can have conversations that last as long as a half an hour. “Underlying ‘Hello Barbie’ is…


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