Beware of AI teddy bears: ‘Scary’ gadgets can read personalized bedtime stories to children using personal data they have overheard, reports the Daily Mail.
Imagine the situation: your child goes to bed hugging a teddy bear who not only listens to his conversations, but also uses the received data to create unique fairy tales. This concept, which seems like a plot from a Black Mirror, could become a reality in just a few years.
Allan Wong, co-founder of toy company VTech, said teddy bears with built-in artificial intelligence will offer parents an alternative to reading fairy tales to their children.
These toys will combine the features of ChatGPT and the famous Furby to listen in on a child’s conversations and create personalized stories for late-night reading.
Artificial intelligence teddy bears are likely to hit the market in 2028, Wong said. However, he also acknowledged that the possibilities of smart technologies are somewhat troubling.
VTech has already launched a wide range of smart toys for kids such as tablets, smartwatches and cameras. They have long been the subject of discussions regarding security, as they can potentially be vulnerable to hacking by attackers.
The idea of an artificial intelligence teddy bear involves the use of chatbots to create stories tailored to each child. As the child interacts with his toy and shares his daily activities, it will get smarter and be able to offer him more interesting stories.
Wong emphasized that these toys will not only know the child’s name, but also many other details of his life, such as the school he goes to and his friends. Thus, the plush toy will look like a real friend with whom the child will be able to talk and communicate.
However, there are security and privacy concerns. Jake Moore, ESET security specialist, notes that such devices can provide a lot of sensitive data about the child, which can be used or shared with third parties without parental consent.
Before such teddy bears become available, toy makers need to carefully examine security and privacy issues, experts say.
While these toys can be an interesting and fun alternative for kids, the risks need to be addressed and children should be taught to limit the sharing of personal data.