A child's doll or teddy bear often had a pull string that activated a voice recording. Now, the doll is able to have a conversation with the child.
If you're of a certain age, you might remember when dolls or, ahem, "action figures," that could talk were so popular. Usually, getting G.I. Joe or Barbie to talk involved pulling a string that activated one of a half dozen pre-recorded random sentences (younger generations, think Woody in Toy Story).
Only rarely did these sentences have anything to do with the scenario you were pretending to act out, however. Your little sister may have "borrowed" G.I. Joe a time or two to have a tea party with Barbie where the conversation would go something like this:
Barbie: "Would you like to go shopping?"
Joe: "We must hold this position. Dig in!"
These days, however, the talking toys your kids or grandkids found under the tree about a month ago are a lot more sophisticated. In fact, the same speech recognition technology that enables you to have a conversation with your smart phone is now being used to turn dolls into a high-tech version of Chatty Cathy.
A 21st-century iteration of the classic...
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