nav search
Data Center Software Security Transformation DevOps Business Personal Tech Science Emergent Tech Bootnotes BOFH

back to article
Mattel's Internet-of-kiddies'-Things Aristotle canned before release

Anonymous Coward

Interesting...

I wonder if we'll ever find out why it was shelved... Gotta love the backstabbing double-crossing suits. You people suck!

............."Promise from Mattel that Aristotle would use “high level encryption” and wouldn't be sharing data with advertisers. That commitment seems at odds with the January CES pitch for the product, since its makers told Bloomberg partnerships with Target, Babies “R” Us and “other retailers” meant it could help with purchases of diapers and other baby supplies. At the time Mattel also pointed to “further partnerships with shopping, education, and entertainment apps”.............

5
0
Silver badge

Re: Interesting...

I wonder if we'll ever find out why it was shelved...

An AI that lives and learns from toddlers? They're not the little angels their parents imagine them to be:

Mom: "Aristotle, tell Timmy to get ready for dinner."

Aristotle: "Hey Timmy! Doody-head says get ready for dinner!"

5
0
Silver badge

Re: Interesting...

It is obvious why it was shelved. Just a few days ago some congressmen asked to have Mattel execs come testify in Congress about not only the potential privacy implications, but what research they'd done with early child development experts as to its potential effects.

It got a lot of press, and promised a lot more when the hearings happened. Mattel had likely invested a lot of money in this, so they didn't want to cancel it, but they only had to look at Google Glass for an example of how public backlash can effect a not-well-thought-out product launch. The backlash here would have been 10x worse because of the "think of the children" factor.

In reality it is probably no worse than giving your toddler a tablet to keep them occupied. It isn't as if Google detects a small child is using it and disables all their tracking and advertising.

6
0
Silver badge

Re: Interesting...

"It isn't as if Google detects a small child is using it and disables all their tracking and advertising."

Nah, Google just create a camera that randomly takes photos when it recognises peoples faces.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

IoT - Talk about 'The blind leading the blind'....

From the Bloomberg link:

"But a lot of it, is new territory. “Honestly speaking, we just don’t know,” Fujioka says. “If we’re successful, kids will form some emotional ties to this. Hopefully, it will be the right types of emotional ties.”...

8
0

Re: IoT - Talk about 'The blind leading the blind'....

And there is the issue: Kid forms bond with computer, company stops supporting and updating computer, computer no longer works, kid kills its self.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Self-imploding IoT? Please lets see more of this ....

......"The company said it had decided not to sell Aristotle "as part of AN ONGOING EFFORT to deliver the best possible connected product experience to the consumer”.....:

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-41520732

5
0
Silver badge

Re: Self-imploding IoT? Please lets see more of this ....

Regardless of what they said, what they just did was pretty smart for a supposedly clueless toy company.

9
0
Silver badge
Facepalm

Re: Self-imploding IoT? Please lets see more of this ....

It may have been smart, but where others might see "they pondered the moral issues and implications and decided to cancel" I see instead "they sensed the public backlash in the making and the PR implications and decided not to open that can of worms". Not because they thought it was inappropriate but because they could see enough of the public thought it was inappropriate. One of those things is a working moral compass, the other is a working instinct of self-preservation. Cynical? Who, me...?

8
0
Silver badge

Re: Self-imploding IoT? Please lets see more of this ....

Are you suggesting there are companies that do have a working "moral compass?" Is there an objective way to tell if it's working or not? If there isn't one, then we're left with subjective ways only.

Seems that the more effective method is fear of the public backlash. It's working better than ever before in history, isn't it? I mean, in the Internet Age, instant dissolution awaits most companies that step too far over the 'line,' whatever that is. Even the really big ones have to tread very carefully.

And doesn't human morality itself also need a foundation based on 'fear of disapproval?' Only a minority ever feel enough compassion naturally to make morality unnecessary, just as with commercial entities.

0
0
Silver badge

Re: Self-imploding IoT? Please lets see more of this ....

Regardless of what they said, what they just did was pretty smart for a supposedly clueless toy company.

Maybe. But what did they just do?

1) Cancel Aristotle outright, write off the development costs, sack the AI team, and securely delete all the intellectual property?

2) Conclude that they'd get panned at the Congressional hearing, and decide that they'd defer launching an AI product, and ideally let somebody else go first to test the water?

0
0
Bronze badge

bigger problem

"Incidentally, the cancellation robs suppliers Qualcomm and Microsoft of a showcase for the difficult AI problem of how to interact with children. ®"

Their biggest problem seems to be an absence of responsible adults.

OK, there's lots of stuff they're responsible FOR, but not much they are responsible ABOUT

11
0
Anonymous Coward

Hi kids!

Tonight's random story is by a man named Stephen King...

16
0
Silver badge
Coat

Re: Hi kids!

Oh good! An IT related story!

17
0

............."Promise from Mattel that Aristotle would use “high level encryption” and wouldn't be sharing data with advertisers. That commitment seems at odds with the January CES pitch for the product, since its makers told Bloomberg partnerships with Target, Babies “R” Us and “other retailers” meant it could help with purchases of diapers and other baby supplies. At the time Mattel also pointed to “further partnerships with shopping, education, and entertainment apps”.............

Yep, trying to accommodate those demands would have wrecked the profit margin for that device.

8
0
Anonymous Coward

Come on Barbie

Let's go Stasi.

30
0
Anonymous Coward

an “AI to help raise your child”.

A gimmick to further distance incompetent parents from their responsibilities.

If you honestly think that using technological surrogates to interact with and manage your child is correct, then you shouldn't be having children.

4
2
Silver badge
Big Brother

Re: an “AI to help raise your child”.

If you honestly think that using technological surrogates to interact with and manage your child is correct, then you shouldn't be having children.

But if you do so anyway, you may well be right.

Personally I was looked after by a sibling when I was small-->

1
1
Silver badge

Re: an “AI to help raise your child”.

Raising children in the modern world, is one big guilt trip. You try to spend as much time with them as possible to give them love, support and help with their learning. But with both parents having a full time job, you never feel it's enough, and then feel guilty about using other things to keep them occupied such as the TV or computers.

1
0
Silver badge
Unhappy

Re: an “AI to help raise your child”.

raise your child into WHAT?

Considering what the gummint schools are ALREADY doing [look at millenials - then look again - yeah] I think it can only get worse if a toymaking company manipulates children into consuming more of their goods or something... [yeah that will NEVER happen, right?]

post-edit-comment - if this edit window font weren't so @#$% small I wouldn't miss the typos I have to correct all of the time... it didn't USED to be that way...

0
1
Silver badge

Named after the philospher...

Whose father died when he was still a child.

He then tutored a young prince and encouraged him to consider eastward expansion of his kingdom. Said young man then tried to conquer the known (and unknown) world. And mostly succeeded.

Just the sort of guy you want bringing up your child.

5
0
Silver badge
Big Brother

Phew

imagine the scene when certain parties get access to Aristotle

"Now then children... tell Aristotle if you heard mummy and daddy talking about politics, and then tell me if they used rude words to describe our leaders, because if they did, Aristotle could get you better parents who'll give you lots of sweets and candies and let you stay up for as long as you wanted"

8
0

Teddy Bears

I seem to recall an old* SF story regarding AI teddy bear companions that were used to provide kids with moral guidance....... that did not end well, either...

* old = I read it in the 1960's

5
0
Silver badge

Re: Teddy Bears

I Always Do What Teddy Says by Harry M Harrison.

6
0
Happy

Re: Teddy Bears

Ahh, thank you.

My favourite Harrison was 'In our hands, the Stars' (also known as 'The Daleth Effect'...)

3
0
Silver badge

Re: Teddy Bears

+Zimmer

Yeah, The Daleth Effect is one of my favourites. In a lighter vein, Bill The Galactic Hero is one of his best.

Harrison did a lot of good work. One of my favourite shorts was The Streets of Ashkelon. When it was written it was considered unpublishable in the US because it showed religion in a bad light and atheism in a good light.

0
0
Silver badge

Re: Teddy Bears

There is one story where the AI does pretty well at raising a child, up to a point.

Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age".

M.

0
0
Silver badge
Devil

Re: Teddy Bears

Harry Harrison - also wrote a book "Star Smashers of the Galaxy Rangers" in which the introduction of cheddar cheese into a particle beam experiment accidentally created a type of warp drive. Laughing and facepalming your way to the end, even past the rapid-fire handwaving section that miraculously ties up all of the loose ends, you get a nice 'surprise' about the 2 protagonists. At least, that's how I remember it...

</tangent>

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Incidentally, the cancellation robs suppliers Qualcomm and Microsoft of a showcase for the difficult AI problem of how to interact with children.

No big loss. If those companies are interested in interacting with children in order to train an AI, they can always partner with 4chan and the Daily Kos.

3
1
Bronze badge

I was thinking more along the lines of having someone follow the Mango Mussolini and Little Kim around.

3
0
Anonymous Coward

"Aristotle, sing me a song about yourself"

"OK Bruce."

1
0
Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: "Aristotle, sing me a song about yourself"

"OK Bruce."

FTFY

0
0
Silver badge
FAIL

The new Standard Business Model

Mattel's nothing special, this seems to be the sole focus of product design for anything and everything. Connect to the Internet, surveill and track the customer, sell what you find out to anyone with a buck. THAT is the single focus. "Good product", meeting a need, none of that matters anymore.

Question: Why is it heinous to spy on kids and share their doings, but perfectly OK to do so for adults? How can we generate some outrage to protect the larger sized humans?

6
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: The new Standard Business Model

I'm not interested in buying anything, I don't have the MONEY to buy anything, so they might as well stop tracking me.

3
0
Silver badge

"Why is it heinous to spy on kids and share their doings"

Because kids are more suggestible and adults have (supposedly) developed some armour against advertising.

0
0

I feel like my ability to not do what adverts say is diminishing, or they've become much butter.

0
0

> ...or they've become much butter.

I can't believe they haven't. They're certainly spreading.

0
0

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

The Register - Independent news and views for the tech community. Part of Situation Publishing