NPR

Kids, Meet Alexa, Your AI Mary Poppins

Amazon has announced new kid-friendly features and parental controls for the Echo home assistant. What do AI experts think about encouraging kids to spend more time with Alexa?
The new Amazon Echo Dot For Kids is that little green thing on the bedside table. Source: Amazon

"Alexa, why is Pluto so awesome?"
"Alexa, what is seven plus three?"
"Alexa, who is Harry Potter?"
"Alexa, I'm bored."
"Alexa, where do babies come from?"*

Families who have an artificially intelligent "smart speaker" at home like Amazon's Echo may be used to kids saying stuff like this. And Amazon (which is a financial supporter of NPR) has just announced that Alexa's going to get better at answering them.

(*Except that last one. Alexa's reply: "People make people, but how they're made would be a better question for a grownup.")

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

Related Interests

More from NPR

NPR4 min read
Best Albums Of 2019 (So Far)
We asked our panel of public radio writers one question: What is your favorite album of 2019 so far? There were so many ways to answer.
NPR2 min readSociety
Jeffrey Epstein's Sex Offender Plea Deal Must Stand, Federal Prosecutors Say
Attorneys representing sex abuse victims have argued for years that their clients weren't informed of the once-secret deal beforehand or given the opportunity to testify about it in court.
NPR2 min read
Brittany Howard Announces First Solo Album, Shares 'History Repeats'
The Alabama Shakes singer will release Jaime later this summer. The first single, "History Repeats," is a punch-drunk and funk rumination on humanity's inevitable arc toward self-defeat.