Since 1959, children everywhere have been using their imaginations to live vicariously through Barbie. Through her, they were able to front the ultimate girl band, travel to space, or drive a convertible through Malibu with her friends. While Barbie always came out on top with whatever challenge you threw at her, having a conversation with her was a whole other frustrating, one-way streak—until now.
Mattel’s new “Hello Barbie” is a talking (robotesque) version of the iconic doll. When it pops up on shelves in November, it will finally give Barbie her own voice, and help realize every child’s desire of being able to talk to their doll. Talking to Hello Barbie is similar to using Siri on your iPhone. You press a button on her belt-buckle to activate a microphone, and talk and record messages that are sent over Wi-Fi to ToyTalk, the artificial intelligence company that developed the doll's voice technology.
While Hello Barbie won’t be as sassy as Siri, she will most likely be creepy. Thanks to Cloud storing information, she'll remember and reference important details about the child during play.
“She should always know that you have two moms and that your grandma died, so don’t bring that up, and that your favorite color is blue, and that you want to be a veterinarian when you grow up,” ToyTalk’s Sarah Wulfeck told The New York Times.
Parents, naturally, are concerned about privacy. Mattel promises that Hello Barbie isn’t an “eavesdropping doll.” She will never ask for any personal information, nor will any information be used for marketing purposes. The company is also providing a lengthy FAQ page online of Barbie’s 8,000 dialogue lines, in addition to a hotline for any questions. But, parents can share their child’s conversations with their Hello Barbie via Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, which gives them full control over account information and content that can be deleted at any time.
No, there’s no reason for parents to worry: The doll won’t go Chucky on anyone, and—most importantly—nothing could possibly go wrong.