You did it! On October 4, Mattel announced it will not release Aristotle, an AI device for babies and children. Mattel’s announcement came just two days after CCFC and The Story of Stuff Project sent the company more than 20,000 petition signatures urging them to shelve the device.
Aristotle was an always-on “smart home” device like Amazon Echo, designed specifically for kids: starting from birth, it would track children’s eating, sleeping, and play. It would have given Mattel and its corporate partners around-the-clock access to kids’ most private moments. Mattel boasted that Aristotle could soothe a crying baby, and they hoped children would form close emotional ties with the data-gathering robot. We launched our campaign last May, well in advance of Aristotle’s release, to give Mattel enough time to change course. Working with leading privacy and child development experts, we documented how Aristotle was a threat to children’s well-being. We also shared our concerns with U.S. Senator Edward J. Markey (D-MA) and U.S. Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), and last week the lawmakers wrote a letter to Mattel asking important questions about Aristotle. You played a huge role, too. You signed and shared our petition and spread the word on social media.
Amid a flurry of media coverage about our campaign and increasing public pressure, the Washington Post reported yesterday that Mattel cancelled plans to sell Aristotle! This is a tremendous victory for all of us who believe a child’s bedroom should be free of corporate surveillance and essential caregiving functions should never be outsourced to robots. We applaud Mattel for doing the right thing. If you’d like to send your own kudos, you can email them or tweet @mattel. And please share this great news with your networks. Thanks for all you did to help us protect kids. Working together, we can create a world where the well-being of children always comes first!