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Can you analyse the social robot?

Roos de Jong, voice assistants, what kinds of relations
Let’s take a closer look at the use of voice assistants by kids. It can be very funny to watch kids trying to get Alexa to play their favorite song or ask for them to tell a joke or buy them a doll house. The advantage of voice assistants is, of course, that they are endlessly patient and don’t get tired when, for instance, children around the age of four ask the same question over and over again. On the other hand, you don’t want voice assistants to mishear kids and redirect them to inappropriate content. But what I find very interesting is looking at children interacting with voice assistants, as this also shows that technology influences behavior.
Voice assistants react when commands are clear and short. Kids and in fact, all users, therefore quickly learn to adjust their own language. It often becomes very functional or even kind of rude. Although the technology advances, voice assistants can have difficulties understanding children. They often make a lot of mistakes or simply cannot process what they are saying. And this might lead to a lot of frustration. But it’s interesting that when users verbally abused your assistants or say something disturbing, the smart speaker, which is often a female voice, will stay polite. It won’t get irritated or contradict a user or refuse a request. So there are some interesting relationships and social norms that are being shaped by this technology.
I’m interested to know if you can analyze this philosophically with the help of the mediation theory of this week.

In STEP 2.3 – What kind of relationship can you have with a social robot? Vanessa Evers introduced you to social robotics afterwhich you discussed what kind of relationship you can have with a social robot. Now you have learned about the different dimensions and kinds of relations, you can probably do it much better! Let’s give it a try!

How can we anticipate in design how a robot influences people’s experiences and practices?

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Philosophy of Technology and Design: Shaping the Relations Between Humans and Technologies

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