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Monday, January 13, 2020

Humanizing Assistants a kind of Privacy Invasion?

From a retail perspective, with further expert comment.

Does humanizing virtual assistants undermine consumer privacy?    by Tom Ryan in Retailwire

A university study finds people increasingly attributing lifelike qualities to virtual assistants and warns this may cause them to reveal more personal information to the companies that use them than they otherwise would.

“These agents are data gathering tools that companies are using to sell us stuff,” said Edward Lank, a professor at the University of Waterloo’s David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science, in a statement. “People need to reflect a little to see if they are formulating impressions of these agents rather than seeing them as just a piece of technology and trusting them in ways based on these impressions.”

Researchers had 20 subjects interact with Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri and then asked them about the personalities of the virtual agents and to create an avatar for each. Alexa’s sentiment was seen as genuine and caring, while Siri’s was viewed as disingenuous and cunning. Alexa’s individuality was commonly described as neutral and ordinary, while participants considered the individuality of Google — and Siri, especially — more defined and pronounced.   .... " 

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