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SCI/TECH: Microsoft Introduces a Robot to Watch Your Children

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posted on Mar, 3 2005 @ 04:23 PM
You no longer have to watch your children. It's official.
Microsoft has showcased a new jumbo teddy bear, complete with surveillance apparatus - four microphones, one camera, 'Microsoft face finding and sound vocalization technology' - hidden within the bears' eyes and hat.
The Associated Press
REDMOND, Wash. Mar 2, 2005 — The teddy bear sitting in the corner of the child's room might look normal, until his head starts following the kid around using a face recognition program, perhaps also allowing a parent talk to the child through a special phone, or monitor the child via a camera and wireless Internet connection.
The plush prototype, on display at Microsoft Corp.'s annual gadget showcase Wednesday, is one of several ideas researchers have for robots. The idea is to create a virtual being that can visit the neighboring cubicle for a live telephone chat even as its owner is traveling thousands of miles away, or let the plumber into the house while its owner enjoys a pleasant afternoon in the sun.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

Well, it's official. Parents can now expel the child, and move immediately to the celebration usually reserved for after college. This bear is a wonderful invention, and like so many wonderful inventions before it, it will do incalculable damage in the hands of an idiot.

The other implications, besides the potential to save kids (or encourage parental neglect) are similarly disturbing. The surveillance equipment is wireless, surely, because it has to act like a baby monitor. So you have to wonder, who else is watching your kids?

On the positive side, this stuffed animal might be able to keep some kids safe. Maybe parents could set an alarm mode, so that if anyone unfamiliar (face recognition) approaches the child in a threatening way, an alarm sounds, or the police are contacted automatically.

Related News Links:

[edit on 3-3-2005 by WyrdeOne]

posted on Mar, 3 2005 @ 05:50 PM
That's kind of creepy. Can you imagine the future business for psychotherapists with a bunch of kids tramatized by "the bear"?

posted on Mar, 3 2005 @ 05:54 PM
Alright, parents can now throw out all those stupid Disney movies!!! THis has to be a low in parenting, a well trained dog can do a better parenting job that some of the people who unfournatly breed at societies cost.

posted on Mar, 3 2005 @ 07:31 PM
I think the hope is that the bear would eventually be able to synthesize tutorial programs, to teach the children like interactive games currently do. They could be a life partner for the child..a life partner with batteries.

I can't wait for the day when our children are completely dependent on their toys for guidance. I will shriek with laughter on that day, I'll yell and whoop.

In a way this is a great breakthrough, like the atom bomb, but it will almost certainly have very bad consequences (not entirely unexpected, just mostly unavoidable). Some parents will use this stuffed bear to watch their small children when they're away. Combine this design with the asimo mobile have a robotic baby sitter.

At least you ladies can stop worrying about your husbands!
No more younger women in the house, just circuit boards and wires. The size of the bear is much larger than Teddy from Spielberg's AI, it's currently not mobile. Soon though, soon.

It's a new world we're walking into. Live forever, automate the reproduction of your cell line, raise them with furry mechanized remote control nanny bears, and fly to venus for a relaxing vacation aboard a luxury space yacht. Gotta love the future. Well, you gotta love my future.

The real thing could be quite different. Can't you just see it? Armies, Legions of children and Bears with black camera eyes, toting guns, marching in the streets...
The terminator is real folks...and he has fur!

posted on Mar, 3 2005 @ 07:39 PM
But what happens when it BSODs and starts spewing lines of hex and kernel exception errors at the children? Maybe Bill Gates just wants to prepare them for the "Windows world"?

posted on Mar, 3 2005 @ 07:55 PM
Whats the purpose of the teddy bear? Why does such an apparatus have to look like anything, except for aesthetics? There's something underhanded about this idea. Face-finding technology still needs some tweaking. I have it on my web cam and it does okay, but it can be fooled by light bulbs and even a picture, for some odd reason.

There's nothing wrong with parents using technology to monitor their kids. It's just the idea of dressing it up in a bear suit that seems unethical and not a very good way to develop trust in kids.

posted on Mar, 3 2005 @ 07:59 PM
Not to worry, folks; any kid with a screwdriver and ten minutes to spare will have one of these "bears" in pieces, forcing the parents to actually spend time with their child.

The horror....

posted on Mar, 3 2005 @ 08:05 PM
Yeah Grady...but it's fuzzy.

Unethical...but fuzzy...


I can't tell if I'm being serious or not.

What do people think about the potential it has to disrupt child abduction? That would outweigh almost all the negatives wouldn't it, nearly? Estimates claim anywhere between several hundred thousand to a million kids go missing in US every year.

Of course the logical next step is to link all the bears to the PD, to prevent parents from hurting their own kids...

And then maybe to prevent us from hurting other adults..then ourselves..

Maybe there should be an unspoken contract between parents and society; if you can't take care of your kid all by yourself and teach them to survive, don't be surprised or come crying to us when bad things happen to them and they get lost or die. That's my particular, personal philosophy, but oftentimes personal philosophies aren't suitable for society at large. I suspect this might be one of those occasions.

What sort of duty do we have to protect our neighbors children? Not as individuals, but as a society, what sort of controls are acceptable for the betterment of our shared existence? These are questions brought in the guise of a fuzzy bear..with cold black eyes...

posted on Mar, 3 2005 @ 08:24 PM
The idea scares the heck out of me I imagine what it will do with the head of littler ones

I remember when my daughter was 4 she make me take all her dolls out of the room because she said that they were talking to her.

posted on Mar, 3 2005 @ 08:33 PM
Sounds like your daughter predicted the future! LOL

Nobody has yet commented on the wireless insecurity issue...

I wonder, is it because nobody cares, or nobody thinks the technology will become popular so they're not worrying about it. I personally believe the tech will take off. Parents will seize at any excuse to spend less time with their kids..for some reason.

I think most parents don't realize what a life changing commitment it is to have children. You basically have to give up your own life in deference to theirs. We could be a colder, more outwardly calloused society and just crush their little heads with rocks..but instead we'd rather play at compassion, and hypocritically ignore and abuse the child. As a society, we treat our children rather cruelly. It's not nearly as bad here as in other parts of the world, but it is a serious problem.

What if your kid was one of those million a year to go missing, would that change your opinion as to the value of the construct? Or is it an ethical, or safety risk in your mind. I'm curious as to the reasons people would choose to accept or deny this thing once it hits the markets.

posted on Mar, 3 2005 @ 08:53 PM
I grew up with a big family, and because they are in PR and I had to follow my husband during his military life, my children didn't experiences that, I dedicated my time to them, until they were old enough for me to work.

I will never regret that, I did not miss anything.

they are now 18 and 21.

posted on Mar, 3 2005 @ 10:21 PM
In all seriousness, I think that this sort of thing really will emphasize that no matter how noble the intentions of an invention, it will be exploited for wrong. I see this being used by abusive parents to take advantage of their children and I would fight tooth and nail to keep this sort of thing off the market if I was capable. The one good thing is that this thing will likely have a large price tag.


posted on Mar, 4 2005 @ 06:46 AM
Excellent analysis WyrdeOne. Good find too.

I didn't think of this danger:

"The surveillance equipment is wireless, surely, because it has to act like a baby monitor. So you have to wonder, who else is watching your kids?"

No kidding. Potential for a whole new kiddie porn industry.

Presumably there will be a scandal, and a security product waiting in the wings ready for release.


posted on Mar, 9 2005 @ 04:39 PM
I've been thinking about the technology for a little while, and I've come to this conclusion.

While it is a danger, and will most certainly be mis-used, I believe it will do more good than harm.

I think it's ridiculous how hands-off parents are these days. Maybe this little device will at least let them keep an eye on the kid. It's a shame that kids these days have no real bond with their parents, and in fact learn very little from them. This device won't help with that, but it might stop kids from getting into so much trouble while they're being ignored.

Another side effect: What if the child forms an emotional attachment to the robot instead of the parents?

posted on Mar, 9 2005 @ 04:52 PM

Originally posted by sandge
Not to worry, folks; any kid with a screwdriver and ten minutes to spare will have one of these "bears" in pieces, forcing the parents to actually spend time with their child.

The horror....

naaa just give 'em a hammer they'll have more fun!!

posted on Mar, 9 2005 @ 05:08 PM

Can you imagine the horror on the part of the parent when they look over to check the monitor and see their child, wild eyed, hammer in hand, approaching like the grim reaper himself. :LOL:

Disillusionment on a grand scale huh? :LOL:

It would be even better if the bear had a human voice, and could plead for its life.

"No Timmy. Bad Timmy. Put down the hammer Timmy. That's not a toy Timmy. What are you doing Timmy? No Timmy. No Timmy. Bad Timmy. Help. Help. Malfunction." :starts playing random collection of pop songs strung together, interspersed with static and loud, whining beeps: :LOL:

posted on Mar, 9 2005 @ 05:37 PM

Originally posted by sandge
Not to worry, folks; any kid with a screwdriver and ten minutes to spare will have one of these "bears" in pieces, forcing the parents to actually spend time with their child.

The horror....

Too true. ...A personal story. My Daughter (MD) was never into dolls - but one day a friend gave her a talking doll. MD was totally uninterested until my firend pressed the button and made it talk - then MD's eyes lit right up. ...As soon as my friend left, MD took the doll apart and used the apparatus to wire her bedroom door with a reverse doorbell - creating an alarm that sounded when the door was opened. Nearly gave me a heart attack the first time I set it off.

...Some kids are gonna have a REALLY good time with this robot.


posted on Mar, 9 2005 @ 05:40 PM
Sounds like you've raised a fine addition to humanity. A little engineer!

That's awesome. I can't express the depth and sincerity of my appreciation for parents who produce kids like that...

It goes beyond words.

posted on Mar, 9 2005 @ 06:16 PM
Wow, a whole new way for mommy to tell you she doesn't love you.

I don't need one of these things to watch my kids, since my kids are grown. If I can teach it to get me a beer while i'm watching the game though, sign me up. Can it be taught to run a microwave? I'll turn the little f#@ker into a slave.

Love and light,


posted on Mar, 9 2005 @ 07:01 PM
I think you'd be better off with an Asimo.
That way you don't have to worry about spilled bear getting the bear's fur all oogy...


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