Thursday, August 15, 2013

Never trust a talking teddy bear

If dogs could talk, it would take a lot of the fun out of owning one. Andy Rooney

As if there isn't enough surveillance already, now you can have a talking teddy bear that gets its information fed to him from the Internet. The potential for further invasion of privacy (it's not to hard to imagine government snooping agencies using the talking teddy to encourage children to provide information about their parents) is ominous--if they ever get it working right (see entire article cited below). As reported by Neil Tweedie in the London Daily Telegraph, August 1, 2013:

Supertoy is a teddy bear that is supposed to hold a conversation. Not a set of pre-programmed “pull the toggle on the back” statements à la Action Man, but a real chat. About anything...

...Questions posed by the bear’s owner are turned firstly from voice into text, then transmitted to a server by a mobile phone attached to the bear and equipped with a special app. The internet is trawled for an answer and the reply sent back to the bear, which speaks his mind.
I particularly like the following comment from someone identified as EnorMouse (August 2, 2013):
Let's see - opinionated, spends its time surfing the net on mobile phone, lacking the ability to evaluate the information it finds but happy to regurgitate it - I think he has invented a teenager - well once he gets it to open a couple of social media accounts anyway :-)

I've interviewed real teddy bears, and they're unanimous in their dislike and distrust of Supertoy. What Mr. Rooney said about dogs is also true of teddy bears, which is why I don't believe the talking teddy will catch on. The "billy possum" didn't sell too well, either--and it didn't talk.

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