Mattel Nixes 'Aristotle' Kids' Device After Privacy Concerns
This "grow-with-you" technology was supposed to start as a baby monitor and expand to help with homework. But experts questioned its reach into kids' lives.
Technology is creating a whole new way to parent, with smart cradles that rock when they sense a crying baby to sleep monitors that alert you if your baby's breathing pauses. But there's one potential entry into the brave new world of high-tech parenting that isn't going to launch: Mattel's Aristotle, an artificial intelligence device that was supposed to grow with your baby, from a smarter version of a baby monitor with white noise and nightlight capabilities to a homework helper for your tween.
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The decision came after critics—including lawmakers and pediatricians—shared their concerns about the device storing sensitive information about minors, and about the device being more responsive to kids' concerns than their own parents might be. In a statement, the company stated that it had decided "not to bring Aristotle to the marketplace as part of an ongoing effort to deliver the best possible connected product experience to the consumer."
Parents generally have been wary of using these internet-connected devices with their kids—even as they warm to them for their own use (as Amazon's expansion of their Echo line of devices suggests). Several smart products, including toys like a Barbie that was meant to interact with a child, were poor sellers.
What do you think? Have you bought any connected technology to help care for your kids? And would you have considered the Aristotle?