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Hey Alexa! Can you trust? — MIT Media Lab




By Adam Zewe

Families gather around Kitchen Island to open the box of the digital assistant they just purchased. A new study by researchers at MIT Media Lab relies on this new voice user interface, which could be a smart speaker like Amazons Alexa or a social robot like Jibo when demonstrating social behavior like humans. It’s more likely.

Researchers find that families tend to think that devices are more capable and emotionally attractive if they can provide social cues such as moving to look at the person speaking. Did. In addition, their research shows that branding, specifically whether the manufacturer name is associated with the device, has a significant impact on how family members recognize and interact with different voice user interfaces. I made it clear.

If the device has a higher level of social reification, such as the ability to give linguistic and nonverbal social cues through movement and expression, the family interacts more often while manipulating the device as a group. It was also discovered by researchers to do.

These results could help designers create voice user interfaces that are more attractive and likely to be used by family members of the home, while improving the transparency of these devices. I have. Researchers also outline ethical concerns that may arise from the design of a particular personality or reification.

Anastasia Ostrovsky, research assistant and lead author of the paper in Media Lab’s Personal Robotics Group, said these devices are new technologies introduced into the home and have not yet been fully considered. .. Since my family is at home, I was very interested in seeing this from a generational approach, including children and grandparents. It was very interesting to us to understand how people perceive these and how families interact with these devices.

Co-authors include Vasiliki Zygouras, a recent graduate of Wellesley College who worked for the Personal Robotics Group at the time of this study. Research Scientist Hewon Park; Cornell University Graduate Student Jenny Fu; Senior Author Cynthia Breazel, Professor of Media Art and Science, Director of MIT RAISE, Director of Personal Robotics Group, and Developer of Jibo Robots. This paper was published today in the Frontiers of Robotics and AI.

The human-centered insights in this work relate to the design of all kinds of anthropomorphic AI devices, from smart speakers and intelligent agents to personal robots, “Breazeal said.

Interaction investigation

This work stems from previous research into how researchers use voice user interfaces at home. At the start of the survey, users were accustomed to the three devices before taking them home for a month. Researchers have found that people spend more time interacting with Jibo social robots than smart speakers such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home. They wondered why people are more engaged in social robots.

To solve this problem, they designed three experiments in which families interact as a group using different voice user interfaces. 34 families of 92 people aged 4 to 69 participated in the study.

The experiment was designed to mimic the family’s first encounter with a voice user interface. The family was videotaped interacting with three devices while performing a list of 24 actions (such as asking about the weather or trying to learn the agent’s opinion). Next, we answered questions about device recognition and categorized the personalities of the voice user interface.

In the first experiment, participants interacted with the Jibo robot, Amazon Echo, and Google Home without modification. Most people found Jibo to be much more extroverted, trustworthy, and compassionate. Ostrowski explains that users were more likely to interact with Jibo because they felt that Jibo had a more human character.

Unexpected results

In the second experiment, researchers set out to understand how branding affects participants’ perspectives. They say Amazon Echo’s wake word (a word that users say aloud to operate the device) Hey, Amazon! Changed to. Hey, Alexa! Instead, I kept the wake words of Google Home (Hey, Google!) And Jibo Robots (Hey, Jibo!) Same. We also provided participants with information on each manufacturer. With branding in mind, users considered Google to be more reliable than Amazon, even though the devices were very similar in design and functionality.

It also dramatically changed the amount people think Amazon devices are competent or peer-like, says Ostrowski. I didn’t think there was a big difference between the first and second studies. We did not change the abilities, how they work, or how they react. The fact that they knew that the device was made by Amazon made a big difference in their perception.

Changing the wake word for a device can have ethical implications. Anthropomorphic names that can make a device look more sociable can mislead users by hiding the connection between the device and the company that created it (the company that now has access to user data). She says there is.

In the third experiment, the team wanted to see how interpersonal movements affect interactions. For example, a Jibo robot looks at the person who is speaking. In this study, researchers used Jibo with the modified wakeword Hey, an Amazon Echo Show with a Computer (a rectangular screen), and an Amazon Echo Spot with a rotation flag at the top (a sphere with a circular screen). I used it. When someone called the wake word, it speeded up, hey, Alexa!

Users have found that the modified Amazon Echo Spot is less attractive than the Amazon Echo Show. This suggests that repetitive movements without social reification may not be an effective way to increase user appeal.

Foster deeper relationships

Further analysis of the third survey reveals that the more socially competent the device they are using, the more they interact with each other, such as glancing at each other, laughing together, and having side conversations. I found that it would increase.

At home, we are wondering how these systems facilitate engagement between users. It has always been a big concern for people. How do these devices shape people’s relationships? Ostrovsky wants to design a system that can promote more prosperous relationships between people.

Using their insights, researchers have presented some voice user interface design considerations, including the importance of developing a warm, outgoing, and thoughtful personality. Understand how wakewords affect user acceptance. Communicate nonverbal social cues through movement.

With these results, researchers want to continue investigating how families use voice user interfaces with different levels of functionality. For example, you might use three different social robots to conduct a survey. We would also like to reproduce these studies in a real environment to investigate the optimal design features for a particular interaction.

This study was funded by the Media Lab Consortium.




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