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I'm looking for documentation on how people react to talking to an artificial intelligence system like, say, Siri (especially now that iOS6 has dictation). How 'comfortable' is it to use voice commands? Is there a psychological barrier to it?

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Speaking from observation, the level of comfort is hugely dependent on the ease of use - if the system has trouble recognizing the input, it is a huge let down (eg: siri for non-native english speakers). If there is no such problem, then users seem to have a serendipitous experience (talking from a senior mobile user's study). – rk. Jun 12 '13 at 0:26
In addition to @rk's comment, lots of people have had bad initial experiences with voice recognition (automated answering systems, early mobile phones, etc.) which may turn them off to the idea before they even use it. +1 for a good question, though, it would be nice to see some actual data on this. – dan1111 Jun 12 '13 at 12:59
The environmental barrier is my biggest issue personally. If I'm somewhere that's too loud it's useless. If I'm somewhere that's too quiet it's a disturbance. Even if I'm just hanging out with friends or my girlfriend I don't use it: They don't need to hear what I'm doing and I doubt they care. The only time I'm comfortable using it is when I'm alone. – Bill Criswell Jun 12 '13 at 15:36
All of these comments are excellent! Thank you! – Yisela Jun 12 '13 at 20:54
There's probably more to find, but I'm not going into full blown literature research here. I know about a bunch of research around AI's for supporting elderly that might be interesting and certainly covers aspects of reaction and acceptance (the companionable project looks interesting). The Interactive Intelligence Group does a bunch of work, and has some interesting links (e.g. the iCat project). Hope that gets you started! – Koen Lageveen Jun 17 '13 at 20:00
up vote 3 down vote accepted

The documented barriers I found deal mainly with an expected error rate of 1 in 3 words that the agent misinterpreted, and the need to manually correct those errors in order to move on. Although speech input is 3x faster than typing, this error rate leads to frustration and eventual abandonment of speech input.

Source: Kumar, Paek and Lee's "Voice Typing: a new speech interaction model for dictation on touchscreen devices", CHI 2012.

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Your question is quite interesting. There are some communication barriers while the user is using such AI systems.

When any user gives any command to the AI speech assistant (like Siri in iOS) then it may happen that the user may speak in a different accent leading to confusion as that accent may not be / or misunderstood by the speech assistant.

Hence we can say that there are some psychological barriers to it.

Obviously it is easy and comfortable to use the speech assistant but it may leads to frustration if the user commands are misinterpreted or misunderstood by the speech assistant.

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