Sunday, December 10, 2023

Relax, parents – study indicates Siri and Alexa are not ruining your kids

Children are often delighted to find that they can ask Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa to play their favourite songs or call Grandma. But does hanging out with Alexa or Siri affect the way children communicate with fellow humans? Probably not, according to a recent study led by the University of Washington that found that children are sensitive to context when it comes to these conversations. The team had a conversational agent teach 22 children between the ages of 5 and 10 to use the word “bungo” to ask it to speak more quickly. The children readily used the word when a robot slowed down its speech. While most children did use bungo in conversations with their parents, it became a source of play or an inside joke about acting like a robot. But when a researcher spoke slowly to the children, the kids rarely used bungo, and often patiently waited for the researcher to finish talking before responding.

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