Jul 16, 2018

Amazon Alexa: is it friends with your kids?

The tech giants are racing to get digital assistants into our homes - the Amazon Echo Dot currently has a 40% discount during Amazon Prime Day - but debate rages over whether they are suitable for children. Amazon Echo meanwhile added a feature to encourage children to be more polite to it following concerns that the abrupt way in which people talk to it was teaching children to be rude. When Amazon released a special version of the Amazon Echo aimed specifically at children in the US, the Campaign For a Commercial-Free Childhood issued a statement raising concerns about the device, accompanied by a letter to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos from two American politicians. An MIT study from 2017 found that younger children were more likely to speak to digital assistants as if they were people, asking them things like what their favourite colour was and how old they were. Amazon has since introduced a feature called Magic Word, which praises children for being polite.

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