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Giving Human Touch to Alexa or Siri May Not Be A Good Idea

In fact, human-like features might create a backlash against less responsive human-like chat bots.

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Sundar said the findings could help developers improve acceptance of chat technology among users. Pixabay

An Indian American researcher-led team has found that giving human touch to chat bots like Apple Siri or Amazon Alexa may actually disappoint users.

Just giving a chat bot human name or adding human-like features to its avatar might not be enough to win over a user if the device fails to maintain a conversational back-and-forth with that person, according to S. Shyam Sundar, Co-director of Media Effects Research Laboratory at Pennsylvania State University.

“People are pleasantly surprised when a chat bot with fewer human cues has higher interactivity,” said Sundar.

“But when there are high human cues, it may set up your expectations for high interactivity – and when the chat bot doesn’t deliver that – it may leave you disappointed,” he added.

iPhone

The researchers, who published their findings in the journal Computers in Human Behavior, also found that just mentioning whether a human or a machine is involved — or, providing an identity cue — guides how people perceive the interaction. Pixabay

In fact, human-like features might create a backlash against less responsive human-like chat bots.

During the study, Sundar found that chat bots that had human features — such as a human avatar — but lacked interactivity, disappointed people who used it.

However, people responded better to a less-interactive chat bot that did not have human-like cues.

High interactivity is marked by swift responses that match a user’s queries and feature a threaded exchange that can be followed easily.

According to Sundar, even small changes in the dialogue, like acknowledging what the user said before providing a response, can make the chat bot seem more interactive.

Because there is an expectation that people may be leery of interacting with a machine, developers typically add human names to their chat bots — for example, Apple’s Siri — or programme a human-like avatar to appear when the chat bot responds to a user.

The researchers, who published their findings in the journal Computers in Human Behavior, also found that just mentioning whether a human or a machine is involved — or, providing an identity cue — guides how people perceive the interaction.

For the study, the researchers recruited 141 participants through Amazon Mechanical Turk, a crowd-sourced site that allows people to get paid to participate in studies.

iPhone
According to Sundar, even small changes in the dialogue, like acknowledging what the user said before providing a response, can make the chat bot seem more interactive. Pixabay

Sundar said the findings could help developers improve acceptance of chat technology among users.

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“There’s a big push in the industry for chat bots,” said Sundar.

“They’re low-cost and easy-to-use, which makes the technology attractive to companies for use in customer service, online tutoring and even cognitive therapy — but we also know that chat bots have limitations,” he added. (IANS)

Next Story

Apple Unveils Third Generation Smart Battery Cases for iPhone 11 Series

The case features a dedicated camera button that launches the Camera app whether the iPhone is locked or unlocked

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Apple
The new Apple Smart Battery Cases are available in white, black and pink sand for the iPhone 11 Pro and the iPhone 11 Pro Max and just white and black for the iPhone 11. All versions are priced at $129 in US. Pixabay

Apple has launched its third generation of smart battery cases for the iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max.

The new Smart Battery Cases are available in white, black and pink sand for the iPhone 11 Pro and the iPhone 11 Pro Max and just white and black for the iPhone 11. All versions are priced at $129 in US.

“Engineered for iPhone 11, the smart battery case gives you even longer battery life while offering great protection. Inside, a soft microfiber lining helps protect your iPhone. And on the outside, the silky, soft-touch finish of the silicone exterior feels great in your hand. A soft elastomer hinge design makes it easy to put the case on and take it off, the company said in a statement on Wednesday.

Apple
Apple has launched its third generation of smart battery cases for the iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max. Pixabay

The case features a dedicated camera button that launches the Camera app whether the iPhone is locked or unlocked.

A quick press of the button takes a photo and a longer press captures QuickTake video. It works for selfies, too.

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Additionally, the case can be charged even faster with USB-PD-compatible chargers. It also supports Lightning accessories, such as the EarPods with lightning connector or the lightning digital AV adapter. (IANS)