Oh. Em. Gee. Mattel is developing a new talking Barbie, and this time, the company's not programming it with silly canned phrases. Nope, Mattel's working on an actual interactive model called "Hello Barbie" that kids (and adults) can talk to, sort of like Siri and Cortana -- but in doll form with long, luxurious blonde hair. Girl friend's loaded with ToyTalk's PullString technology designed to make two-way conversations happen with animations and toys, so she's capable of natural speech recognition and picks up cues from what you say to formulate a response. She can even remember past convos and, like a good BFF, take note of her owner's preferences to reference in future replies. You will need to push a button so she knows you're talking to her directly, but that's not such a huge inconvenience.
Hello Barbie is WiFi-connected and continuously downloads the latest software updates in order for her to keep up with the newest pop culture references and to have new jokes and stories to tell. ToyTalk and Mattel want to develop the technology further so the doll can talk to kids about their future career paths, though, which is honestly quite brilliant. Barbie wears many, many hats anyway and has been a scientist, dentist, painter, surfer, astronaut among other things in the past, and kids will be thrilled to talk to each one about her "job."
ToyTalk's CEO Oren Jacob told Fast Company that Barbie's most requested feature is speech: kids have always wanted to talk to her. Now the companies are making that a reality, though it'll likely take some time before fans can get their hands on one. Mattel is at least exhibiting a prototype at the North American Toy Fair, and Chip Chick has recorded a video (below) of Hello Barbie chatting with her human gal pal. You go, girl!