According to an expert in the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning in healthcare, smart voice-enabled devices such as Alexa, Siri and Google Home can hinder children’s social and emotional development. The study’s findings were published online in the Archives of Disease in Childhood. These devices could have long-term effects by hindering children’s critical thinking, empathy and compassion and learning skills, says Anmol Arora of the University of Cambridge. While voice-activated devices can act as ‘friends’ and help improve children’s reading and communication skills, their advanced AI and ‘human’ sounding voices have raised concerns about the possible long-term effects on children’s brains at a crucial stage of development. There are three broad areas of focus, the author explains. These include inappropriate comments; hindering social development; and hinder learning.