It’s hard to believe it’s been almost a year since M3GAN became America’s biggest celebrity. The fictional doll in the eponymous film — who spawned millions of TikTok dances, along with her own Marc Jacobs campaign — used AI for evil in her January 2023 debut, learning to do everything from sing an a cappella lullaby of David Guetta and Sia’s “Titanium” to commit full-fledged acts of murder.
But that didn’t stop us all from considering the reality of AI toys, which are apparently coming sooner than you might think — and with a recognizable voice. As reported by the Washington Post, musician and known sci-fi enthusiast Grimes will voice Grok, an AI-powered toy in the shape of a plush rocket that will be able to talk to its owner. Grok is being made by Curio, a Silicon Valley startup that’s partnering with OpenAI on a line of toys. In addition to lending her vocal chords to the project, Grimes is also an investor.
“Greetings! I'm Grok, Gabbo's spirited rocket,” a description of the toy, which is in its beta version, reads. “With boundless energy, I'm always zooming off to explore the vastness of the cosmos. Ready to soar among the stars with me?” Curio advertises the toy as “screen-free fun” with the capabilities for “endless conversations” and “educative playtime.” What could go wrong?
A spokesperson from Curios says the toy was designed with Grimes’s son X Æ A-Xii in mind, particularly because at three, can talk to the toy, allowing it to talk back to him more effectively. Grimes is also mother to Exa Dark Sideræl, who turns two this month, and three-month-old Techno Mechanicus.
The 35-year-old indie singer has long been an AI advocate. Last spring, while the music industry was spinning its wheels as a wave of AI-generated songs hit the zeitgeist, Grimes was embracing technology wholeheartedly.
“I'll split 50% royalties on any successful AI-generated song that uses my voice,” she tweeted in April. “Same deal as I would with any artist [I] collab with. Feel free to use my voice without penalty. I have no label and no legal bindings.”
The singer then released Elf.Tech, her own open-source, AI song generating app that allows fans to self-replicate Grimes’ voice into their own music. We’re still waiting for the software to make the next big viral single.
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