Tags: mattel | ai | device | aristotle

Mattel AI Device, a Feared Kid Privacy Predator, Nixed

Image: Mattel AI Device, a Feared Kid Privacy Predator, Nixed
Mattel has dropped plans for its Aristotle AI device. (Mattel)

By    |   Thursday, 05 Oct 2017 04:38 PM

Aristotle, a Mattel AI device some feared would betray kids' privacy, has been abandoned by the company, it announced Wednesday.

About 15,000 physicians and child safety advocates had petitioned Mattel not to release the AI device, which collected data from children and provided them with assistance on tasks from soothing a baby to providing learning materials and helping with homework.

Although Mattel said it had planned to keep Aristotle data private with encryption and would comply with children’s data privacy laws, parenting experts felt the device still carried risks for children. Experts also said they didn’t have enough information about how AI devices could affect early childhood development to support releasing the device.

“We shouldn’t be using kids as AI experiments,” Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood Executive Director Josh Golin told BuzzFeed. “If we don’t know what the effect is, then we shouldn’t be putting that in children’s bedrooms.”

Mattel said it decided to forego releasing the product after Sven Gerjets came on as chief technology officer in July. Gerjets said the decision was “part of an ongoing effort to deliver the best possible connected product experience to the consumer,” The Washington Post reported.

Golin said he hoped the decision would “send a strong message to other toymakers and tech companies with plans for their own surveillance devices for young children,” he told Buzzfeed. “This is a tremendous victory for everyone who believes children still have a right to privacy and that essential caregiving functions should never be outsourced to robots.”

Mattel's AI device may be off the docket for now, but it is only one of many products using smart technology to help care for or entertain children. Besides ubiquitous tablets and apps aimed at kids as young as 6 months old, there are now smart cradles that can rock babies and a smart cushion that plays sounds mimicking a parent’s heartbeat while cradling an infant to soothe it.

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Aristotle, a Mattel AI device some feared would betray kids' privacy, has been abandoned by the company, it announced Wednesday.
mattel, ai, device, aristotle
322
2017-38-05
Thursday, 05 Oct 2017 04:38 PM
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