Building a Better Talking Doll
Part of Vital Signs
When Mattel’s A.I.-infused Hello Barbie hit shelves in the fall of 2015, she held tremendous promise: perhaps, at last, America’s favorite doll could also be a child’s favorite conversation partner. In practice, Hello Barbie fails to live up to her hype. This podcast explores Hello Barbie’s flop in the historical context of other tech-savvy toys and discovers that her shortcomings are a continuation of a legacy that dates as far back as the 1800s. But could a better future for toys and tech be in sight?