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"Amazing Amanda" crushes imagination with servos and RFID

Today's New York Times has a fascinating article about Amazing Amanda, a doll that can apparently recognize voices, identify objects around it and even show rudimentary emotions. Built atop technologies like speech recognition and RFID radio frequency identification tags and even facial robotics, am I the only parent in the world who finds this all rather creepy?

On the one hand, the use of technology is brilliant - having RFID tags in each of the toys that are included with Amazing Amanda lets the doll recognize which toy the child is presenting to it, for example - but there's a deeper question here of what's happening to childhood as technology slowly but inexorably overtakes imagination.

This is a central theme for Waldorf Schools too, actually, and a visit to a Waldorf home shows a lot more emphasis on wooden blocks and non-anatomically-correct dolls, for example, than video games, crude doll robotics and similar. In our home, for example, blank paper and lots of different colors of paint are a much loved substitute for a paint-by-numbers page with a specific correlation of number to hue or color on a palette.

I think it's straightforward: the more sophisticated and seemingly intelligent that toys are...