A brand new model of Amazon’s Alexa synthetic intelligence assistant has been introduced, with a characteristic that may train kids to say please and thanks.
The Echo Dot Youngsters Version is a child-friendly model of the Amazon’s model of the good assistant – artificially clever voice activated helpers like Apple’s Siri or the Google Assistant.
Launched this week, the youngsters’ product features a new perform that means kids say please once they ask Amazon one thing – and responds with optimistic reinforcement once they do.
New options to encourage politeness have been launched after some dad and mom raised considerations that Alexa and merchandise prefer it have been instructing unhealthy behaviour by responding positively when kids made impolite calls for.
The additions are a part of a raft of specially-for-kids additions that, Amazon says, make the voice-activated Echo field a “kid-friendly DJ, comic and storyteller” who’s “at all times getting smarter”.
The brand new product additionally options particular controls that permit dad and mom to close down Alexa or monitor their kids’s exercise on the system.
Youngsters can play true-or-false video games and ask Alexa questions – getting instant solutions to musings like “how lengthy is a day on Mars?”
Reporters who’ve trialled Alexa have additionally mentioned responses for teenagers are extra nuanced and quirky than the fundamental factual updates on the grown-up model.
When children what number of planets there are, for instance, the speaker will inform them that Pluto just isn’t a planet – however that it is nonetheless “superior”.
And when children say they’re distressed – in the event that they’re being bullied, for instance – the system will encourage them to talk to a accountable grownup.
Dad and mom can mechanically filter specific content material and entry a raft of video games and audio books specifically for kids on platforms like Netflix or Disney. Making it straightforward to entry media on this manner is a part of the marketing strategy for Amazon’s good audio system, offered at round value worth and used as a platform to make gross sales.
“Simply ask and Alexa will play music, reply questions, learn tales, inform jokes, and extra,” Amazon’s web site says. “All with youthful ears in thoughts.”
Unsurprisingly, the brand new concentrate on children has raised some eyebrows amongst tech commentators.
Slate ran the information with a headline suggestion Alexa may “increase your youngster for you”, whereas Buzzfeed raised considerations system speaking with a person day-in-day-out, from early childhood, may amass private knowledge of as but unprecedented high quality and element.
The impression of AI assistants on childhood growth can be a priority, as gadgets like Alexa turn into not simply helpers however family members and ever-present buddies to kids.