Are we becoming slaves to virtual assistants?

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A scientific study Shows that when buying items online, people are prone Buy more when using virtual assistants like Alexa or Siri. Consequences that question our behavior in the face of these technologies and the potential power of their enslavement. Are we becoming slaves to virtual assistants? Emanuel Picad mobilizes Gilbert Symondson And Hegel Try to look at it more clearly.

  • They are called Alexa, Siri, Cortana. Virtual assistants are attacking our home. Based on artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms, these allow our electronic devices to play music, search online, or remotely control certain home automation applications. In the guise of making our lives easier, are these new technologies proving as innocuous as their sellers want us to believe? Published in a research and scientific journal conducted by Chinese researchers Computers in human behavior Shows that the effects of these objects on our behavior are far from trivial.
  • This study looks at the impact of this virtual assistant when making an online purchase, Concludes that customers tend to trust when it comes to running such a process compared to the traditional method of purchase. The researchers themselves were surprised by the results, as they initially thought that using a virtual assistant could lower buyers’ confidence, subsequently being able to offer only one product at a time and being forced to describe the product orally. , Which does not allow comparison with others.
  • Quite the opposite seems to be happening. At the time of purchase, the user instructs the AI ​​to perform a task, giving them a sense of power over that assistant. The simple fact that an entity, even having a height on a virtual one, apparently affects the behavior of the buyer. “When users realize that they have control over the AI ​​assistant, they may feel that the assistant’s behavior is under their control, although this is unlikely because the latter is controlled by the marketing companies’ algorithms., Explained the study author. The perception of power thus gives rise to a psychological state of overconfidence and optimism, which leads the buyer to blindly trust the virtual assistant.
  • Scientific results that echo Gilbert Symondson’s philosophical work, Who had already questioned himself in his book In the mode of existence of technical objects It is this extra confidence that a technology mastery can bring to our conscience. Thus he observed :

“Man, while retaining the fruit of his learning, exchanges his old tool with a new one whose manipulation is the same, he feels the impression of a more precise, more efficient, quick gesture; It is a complete physical schema that pushes back its limits, expands, liberates itself; Impressions are gained in a fluid, global, diffused way. He has more confidence; “Because the tool stretches the limbs and is carried by the gestures.”

Gilbert Simmondon, In the mode of existence of technical objects (1958)

  • The vague relationship between the buyer and his virtual assistant It also reminds the philosopher of the duality of lord and servant Hegel In The phenomenology of the mind. If at first the master interrupts the slave and forces him to work for his freedom, then the lord is trapped in his inactivity and may eventually rely on the slave for his own survival. This relationship of domination is a vague relationship driven by desire and enjoyment that gives the influential:

“The Lord mediates the matter through the intercession of the slave; The slave, as a general self-consciousness, behaves negatively towards the thing and suppresses it; But it is independent for him at the same time, so he cannot come to the end of the thing by his act of denial and destroy it; Slave so only converted it by his work. Conversely, through this mediation, the instantaneous relationship becomes a pure denial of this same thing or joysance for the master; What is not effected by will is effected by the enjoyment of the lord; Finishing things: Satisfaction in enjoyment. Because of the freedom of things it is not done by will; But the Lord, who has included the slave in the thing and in himself, thus binds himself only to the dependence of the thing and enjoys it purely. He leaves the freedom of the thing to the slave, who describes it in detail. “

GWF Hegel, The phenomenology of the mind (1807)

A warning that did not seem so true at a time when technology, supposed to make our lives easier, invaded our homes and deprived us of our freedom.

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