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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.

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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

Tech Giant Apple to Release Smart Keyboard with Scissor Design in Year 2020

The iPhone SE 2 will use a 10-layer Substrate-like PCB (SLP) for its motherboard, the same technology used by the iPhone 11's version

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An Apple company logo is seen behind tree branches outside an Apple store in Beijing, Dec. 14, 2018. VOA

Apple is reportedly planning to introduce an updated Smart Keyboard with a scissor switch design alongside its next-generation iPad and iPad Pro models in 2020.

The iPhone maker introduced its scissor-switch keyboard design at the end of 2019 with the 16-inch MacBook Pro. Other MacBooks are also expected to get the keyboard in 2020, the Cult of Mac reported recently.

While, back in July 2019, known Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimed that iPad keyboards would stick with a rubber dome design rather than scissor switches in 2020-21.

Kuo recently revealed that the iPhone maker is expected to release new iPad Pro models with rear 3D sensing in the first half of 2020.

Kuo in a research note with TF International Securities said the iPad Pro models will gain 3D sensing through the rear-facing camera system.

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The Apple logo is shown outside the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, California. VOA

As per report, Apple is expected to use a time-of-flight system, which measures the time that it takes for light to bounce off of objects in a room to generate a 3D map.

Additionally, Kuo also reiterated that Apple plans to release its low-cost iPhone “SE 2” in the first half of 2020 too.

Also Read: Musk-run Tesla Hits $100-bn Market Value for the First Time

The iPhone SE 2 will use a 10-layer Substrate-like PCB (SLP) for its motherboard, the same technology used by the iPhone 11’s version.

Kuo expects the device to look similar to the iPhone 8 and believes it will be a popular upgrade option for existing iPhone 6 and iPhone 6S owners. (IANS)