In 1998, a strange fad swept the nation. Standing a mere 5 inches tall, the gremlin-esque talking robots known as furbies became the season's must-have toys for kids (much to Hasbro's delight). The most compelling aspect of furbies wasn't their strange, half hamster, half owl aesthetic or even their ability to talk; it was that, from the beginning, furbies were advertised as learning robots. A newly purchased furby starts out speaking an entirely made up language called Furbish, but, over time, was said to 'learn' English by talking to its owner. As the the instruction manual touted: "The more time you spend with me, the sooner I will be able to speak your language." While it was a neat trick, the fact is, furbies didn't really learn. English phrases were in their memory from the get go - their programming simply dictated that the use of these phrases increased over time. Still, even faked robot learning was cool enough to sell over 40 million furbies in the first three years.