Barbie may soon become a walking, talking, living doll, able to use the Internet, believes a leading cyberspace expert.
Professor Nicholas Negroponte, a director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, says household appliances and toys may generate more online traffic than humans in just three to five years.
"They will reach out to the Internet for their intelligence and their performance will be enhanced by it," he told a London conference recently.
"Barbie Dolls will be intelligent, networked toys that will be able to speak any language. They will be able to educate themselves by downloading different language software from the Internet using mobile Internet capability that will be built into them," he said.
He also says washing machines and dishwashers will be able to receive the latest washing programmes online and even take online payments for each individual wash.