THE CHANCE of family arguments is set to decrease after Hasbro announced a new version of Monopoly with AI smarts.
Monopoly Voice has arrived in the US, offering the first version of the game where no one has to be the banker, and thus be screamed at every time there's a Super Tax to pay.
Instead, a custom voice assistant in the shape of a top hat takes over that role. Pressing the button on the hat that corresponds to your player triggers the hat to listen to what you are going to do in that turn and advises you how much you've made or lost.
Even the banknotes are gone, replaced by a digital bank balance that Mr Monopoly, as they're calling him, keeps track of for you, lest you steal it and go to jail.
What's particularly significant about all this is that, rather than create a skill for an existing voice assistant like Alexa, it has created its own self-contained, offline version. The company argues that this will maximise access to the game, whilst protecting privacy. After all - you don't want your Monopoly misdemeanours to end up on your great big data file in the sky.
It takes a bit of learning of the exact terms to get Mr Monopoly to behave, but that's no truer than it is of conventional digital assistants, and once you've got it, you can Pass Go with confidence.
Monopoly Voice will go on sale in the US for around $30 - slightly more than the original edition, but if it saves trips to A&E because your great aunt has inserted an iron into your nostril, then it's probably a price worth paying.
There's no news on a UK release yet - Mr Monopoly will need to get his geography of London in the 1930s down pat first. μ
Watch this space
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