First, the computers were out to steal your jobs, now they’re out to steal your hearts.
A new report by marketing company Mindshare has investigated how people perceive voice-activated technology such as Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, Cortana, and Google’s Home. It turns out, some people really, really like them.
One in four regular voice technology users say they have had a sexual fantasy about their voice assistant – that’s 26 percent. A massive 37 percent of users said they “love their voice assistant so much that they wish it were a real person.” Whatever floats your boat, I suppose.
The report says that voice assistant users are “significantly more likely” to be young, male, and rich. It’s worth remembering that the voices of digital assistants are overwhelming female. Although, another new study by Indiana University’s School of Informatics and Computing says this is because both men and women have stated a preference for female voices as they are “warmer.”
Using Steady-State Topography imaging techniques, Mindshare delved into the minds of 100 voice tech fans to analyze the emotional response and brain activity taking place during voice interactions, then compared it to touchscreen or typing. They found that voice technology sparks consistently lower levels of brain activity than typing out the command, which they believe shows how easy and natural vocal interaction with technology feels.
“For most of our cultural evolution as a species, humans have transmitted knowledge and ideas from one generation to another through oral tradition—the voice is therefore perhaps the most innate and intuitive way for us to communicate,” audio specialist Nick Ryan, who contributed to the study, said in the report.
The brain imaging also found that the emotional response to voice assistants is considerably lower than for both a face-to-face human interaction and a text interface. Nevertheless, they said they have noticed early adopters of the technology are starting to develop “deeper emotional attachment” over time.
They also anticipated that when the technology improves and their personalities are less rigid, more people are likely to develop an emotional attachment to the voices of their technical companions.