According to an expert in the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning in healthcare, voice-control smart devices such as Alexa, Siri, and Google Home may hinder children's social and emotional development. The findings of the study were published online in the Archives of Disease in Childhood. These devices might have long-term effects by impeding children's critical thinking, capacity for empathy and compassion, and their learning skills, says Anmol Arora of the University of Cambridge. While voice-control devices may act as 'friends' and help to improve children's reading and communication skills, their advanced AI and 'human' sounding voices have prompted concerns about the potential long-term effects on children's brains at a crucial stage of development. There are three broad areas of concern, explains the author. These comprise inappropriate responses; impeding social development; and hindering learning.