A troubled writer falls in love with a voice-based, AI-powered, operating system, and the computer OS falls in love with the human.
That’s not a real-life story, just the plot of the 2013 movie Her. But a study shows that the man-machine relationship imagined in Her might become a reality one day. As voice assistants become more powerful, and, thus, more involved in our daily lives, we’ll be more likely to develop feelings for computers and sexual fantasies.
A new Speak Easy study from J. Walter Thomson and Mindshare indicates that a significant percentage of the existing Amazon Echo users might be prone to fantasizing about the virtual assistant.
The researchers only surveyed 102 smartphone users and Amazon shoppers with the ages of 18 to 65 for the study.
“[The] emotional response to Alexa grew during the course of our experiment as people became more comfortable using it, pointing to the latent potential for a closer relationship,” the report notes.
“Over a third (37%) of regular voice technology users say that they love their voice assistant so much that they wish it were a real person Even more astonishing is that more than a quarter of regular voice technology users say they have had a sexual fantasy about their voice assistant.”
This is just one of the unexpected findings of the study, but the paper goes over other aspects related to voice-based assistants and how such products will change the daily lives of users in the future — here’s the the full study.