I have, on many accounts, written on the importance of toys for the development of a child. These seemingly insignificant playthings (through adult eyes) do so much more for our children than we might even care to know. Toys help babies master movements that are essential in daily life. Toys like Lego spark the creativity within a child. Especially for the 80s and 90s kids out there, toys like the Tamagotchi gave us a semblance of what it might be like to have a pet.
And as it is in our nature, we tend to apply our technology wherever we can, and that includes toys. Whether that is nothing more than a display of vanity and pride or it is a genuine effort to truly make the world a better place is a debate that is best left to those who have time to do so. We, on the other hand, talk about the future and what it holds for us.
Now, artificial intelligence is one of the most disruptive technologies that we’ve ever come up with. It has the potential to drastically alter how we live, so much so that there’s even a real fear that AI might eventually replace the human workforce.
But, for now, let’s talk toys.
AI-Powered Toys? What For?
Before you actually dismiss the proposition, take time to read a bit further. Consider this: Robot toys with personalities. Toys that are not merely programmed to respond to a set of stimuli, but are actually able to at least mimic and convey a semblance of emotions, even if these are artificial. You could start with a drone, like the ones from Dronethusiast, as your primary vessel and move on from there by giving it AI and an array of sensors.
With capabilities like face and voice recognition, these toys would be able to respond to things like being told that they’re a “Good Boy/Girl” and to also respond to voice commands consistently. Think of it as getting your child a pet, minus the danger that comes along our furry friends because of their primal tendencies.
Again, What For?
It’s not far-fetched to think that in the future, we’re going to have to co-mingle with our AI counterparts. You could say that I’ve been playing too much Detroit Become Human. But, then again, while it’s merely a video game, it does challenge us as humans to take a look at ourselves and how we treat anyone and anything that’s different from us.
See, when you teach a child to value both living things and those that are non-living, you are raising a member of society that cares for the world he lives in, as is illustrated in this project.
AI-Powered Toys and Research
Now, let’s move away from the cheesy stuff and into what you’re actually here for — the technology. See, there’s wisdom in starting small before attempting to upscale a project. The same holds true in this scenario. If your ultimate goal is to create a companion that can help humans with daily tasks, then you might as well start with a toy and see if it is indeed viable to create a reliable AI-powered companion.
And it’s true that this is going to be a costly venture, but I’m fairly confident that that is where we’re headed eventually.