Mattel has introduced the newest Barbie doll at a toy fair in New York. According to the Washington Post, this doll is equipped with voice recognition software that will allow the doll to “listen to children speak and give chatty responses.” It will learn, remembering such things as a pet’s name and will also adjust to new topics.
How this works is that by pressing a button, a microphone embedded in the doll will record your child’s voice and send it over the web to a server that recognizes and processes what is said, and responds “appropriately”.
This is a TERRIBLE idea! Privacy will be horribly compromised. This could be the government’s wet dream. Eavesdropping on the unguarded conversations of innocent children and possibly unsuspecting adults will lead to unimaginable consequences. I can almost guarantee this will be used against us. What is to stop unscrupulous people from asking the children things like do their parents have guns, do they smoke, do they use drugs, do they fight, etc. etc? Pedophiles and child molesters are surely dancing in glee at this lovely new opportunity to stalk their victims and gather information. Children young enough to want to talk to a doll are by no means able to be cautious about what they say. Heck, we adults are not cautious enough! There is also no way to guarantee that there isn’t a camera in the doll without taking it apart.
This is not just a slippery slope, this is very close to the pit. It’s not enough that our emails, phone calls and texts are being collected? Our computers, tv’s and laptops are already equipped with cameras and microphones that can be remotely activated without our permission and even without our knowledge. This is unethical. Remembering a pet’s name could be a huge security risk, millions of people incorporate their pets’ names into their passwords. Almost every single website we view wants us to register with personal information and create a password. I personally have 24 different passwords for each site that demands one and on some accounts I just use the same one. Coming up with dozens of different original passwords is almost impossible, and I will bet you that almost everyone has them written down or recorded somewhere. Who can remember all that?
America, please be careful. Do not let your passion for new technology and your desire to make your children happy compromise your safety. This doll is not just wrong, it is flat out creepy. Remember, it won’t be sitting in one spot like your tv. It could be anywhere, in the bathroom or under your bed. Are you truly comfortable with your most private and intimate moments broadcast all over the internet? This must stop. It is outrageous and extremely dangerous. We must protect our families; getting this doll could possibly lead to the destruction of all we hold dear.