Half-day workshops 4hrs

Speculating Voice Assistant Futures

Mike Shorter, Aysun Aytaç

Although Voice assistants (VAs) are becoming more and more part of our everyday lives, we still have little idea of how to coexist with this technology, and the benefits it can bring to our lives. Recent research found out that incorporating this emerging technology into everyday life could not go much further than using basic functions: music, basic internet searches and smart home control [1] which shows VA interactions are often limited and are still to be developed. Confirming this, in our research [2], we found out that this limited interaction is mostly the result of a feeling of loss of control and lack of trust towards the device.

 

As interaction designers, how could we (re)define and design our interaction with VAs to build trust towards/to have confidence in this device? Concerning trust and confidence, what would a possible decentralized future of VAs look like?

 

To tackle these questions, we are organizing a speculative design workshop exploring the issue of (mis)trust and confidence in VAs for a decentralized future. We will bring a set of physical props to hypothesize on our interactions with these powerful devices. We will start to speculate, debate and sketch out ideas for futures we want with VAs. And along with this explore the ethical, political, economic, environmental and social effects these devices can have on our new futures.

 

  1. See Ammari, T. et al. 2019. Music, Search, and IoT: How People(Really) Use Voice Assistants. ACM Transactions on ComputerHuman Interaction, 26(3), pp. 1–28. doi:10.1145/3311956 and Lahoual, D. and Frejus, M. 2019. When Users Assist the Voice Assistants:
    From Supervision to Failure Resolution, in Extended Abstracts of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI EA ’19). ACM. https://doi.org/10.1145/3290607.3299053
  2. VA-PEPR research project: Voice Assistants - People, Experiences, Practices and Routines. The workshop is built upon the insights gained from an ethnographic study with 31 participants engaging with VAs within the VA-PEPR research project.

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