Breazeal, C., Druga, S., Resnick, M. and Williams, R. ““Hey Google is it OK if I Eat You?” Initial Explorations in Child-Agent Interaction.” MIT Personal Robots Group. June 2017. 

  • This report talks about the ways in which children ranging in ages from three to ten years old interact with digital assistants. It assesses the ways in which children perceive digital assistants’ intelligence, personality and their engagement with the user. It also looks at how much children trust in these machines. I can use this source to look at how digital assistants are being used by children starting at a very young age. I can also look at the ways in which children interact with the machines, and compare this to the ways adults interact with them. In addition, the information provided through this research can also help me analyze whether or not beginning to use this type of technology from an early age can affect children in the future. It will help me look at the ways in which this kind of technology will inhibit upcoming generations from learning how to conduct simple tasks such as shutting lights, and changing air conditioner temperatures. This report can also help me look at the extent to which children trust these machines based on their answers to the questions they were asked about how the trust the virtual assistants.   

Burden, David, and Maggi Savin-Baden. Virtual Humans: Today and Tomorrow. CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group, 2019.

  • This book takes a look at the technical aspect of creating and using virtual assistants. It looks at the possibility of using well-known digital assistants, such as Alexa, Siri and Cortana, to conduct jobs such as teaching, coaching and managing knowledge. The book demonstrates the ability to create assistants like these and other virtual humans by using research conducted by experts. In addition, the book writes about the use of sample  virtual humans. The text takes a deep dive into each aspect of developing these assistants, from constructing the body, to creating the mind and brain. In addition the book looks at the ethical consequences that come from using the assistants. For my paper, this text could be useful for looking into how the virtual assistants are created, and in understanding the way they internalize and process information. Finally, in Section III of the book, the author discusses the issues that have risen through the development of these machines, as well as what the future of them could look like. This will give me another perspective as to how this technology can develop and affect the daily lives of generations to come. 

Ezrachi, Ariel and Maurice E. Stucke. “How Digital Assistants Can Harm Our Economy, Privacy and Democracy.” vol. 32, iss. 3, 2017. Berkeley Technology Law Journal.

  • This article discusses several complexities that are present within virtual assistants. It examines the ways in which digital assistants tend to benefit the corporation that owns the machine, rather than the consumer using it. It looks into the ways in which digital assistants can invade a users privacy by taking personal information shared with it from the questions asked, and use it for internal corporate operations.  In addition, the document explains the ways in which these assistants can create an environment that is prone to heavy economic competition between large tech companies. Furthermore, the article looks at the ways in which the digital systems are continuously developing. Companies are building these voice assistants, with more human-like voices and responses. This article is important to my research as it provides another perspective on how digital assistants invade a user’s privacy, and  because it looks at the reasons and consequences of rapid developments of the machines. In addition, it looks at the ways in which the product will become something more in the future. 

Hutson, Matthew. “Our Bots, Ourselves.” Atlantic, vol. 319, no. 2, Mar. 2017, pp. 28–29.…

  • This article looks into the ways in which the Artificial Intelligence, especially digital assistants are going to shape the future. It discusses the fact that all tech giants are trying to make virtual assistants because of the impact they are predicted to have on the human population in the near future. It specifically talks about the way Apple Inc. developed its digital assistant. In addition, the article references Nova Spivack, a futurist, and examines her views on the future of digital assistants. She discusses in her analysis, the possibility of users forming lifelong attachments to their digital assistants. This article will be helpful to the development of my research as it takes a look at the ways in which digital assistants will eventually evolve, and become something more in the future. Having the perspective of a “futurist,” and the way she believes machines will evolve, gives my research another angle of what the machines could potentially become in the future. Since it is ultimately impossible to tell exactly what is going to happen in the future, using a piece of research that looks at a prediction of what could happen based on patterns of the past will give me insight as to what could potentially happen as these forms of technology continue evolving. 

Vlahos, James. Talk to Me: How Voice Computing Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Think. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019.

  • This book looks into the ways in which voice computing will become the next revolution in technology. In the text, the author discusses the fact that the Amazon Echo and Siri are early forms of this technology. He feels as though in the near future, we will be speaking to our phones and computers in the same ways we would speak to any human. The text examines the economic, cultural and psychological effects voice computing currently has on users, and looks at the ways in which it will impact those factors in the future, as the machines develop to become something even more human-like. The book specifically discusses the ways in which large tech companies such as Facebook, Microsoft and Amazon have entire buildings and departments dedicated to further developing their voice computing products. Furthermore, he looks into how people will react to these more human-like characteristics of voice computing. He questions things like whether or not people will form emotional connections with their voice assistant, how they will affect our privacy and whether or not they will increase our addiction to digital things. This book will probably be the source that helps me most throughout my research paper. This is because the topics it encompasses about digital assistants are very broad, and it touches points such as privacy and the ways the machines will develop in the future. Both of these points are essential for the research I am conducting. 

Woods, Heather Suzanne. “Asking More of Siri and Alexa: Feminine Persona in Service of Surveillance Capitalism.” Critical Studies in Media Communication, vol. 35, iss. 4, 2018, Accessed 4 November 2019. 

  • This journal looks at the ways in which digital assistants are given the stereotypical responsibilities of a female. It uses the Amazon Alexa and Apple’s Siri to analyze the jobs they are programmed to do. The journal takes note of the fact that these assistants are designed to conduct tasks of a mother, wife or caretaker, and are created to have features that reflect the female gender. This can be seen in aspects such as the voice they are programmed with. The journal also discusses the fact that since the machines have a femanine persona to them, causing users to tend to confide in them more.  This in turn gives way to them sharing a larger amount of intimate information with the virtual assistants. I can use this document for my research as it takes a look at the ways in which users confide in their machines and share great amounts of information with them. With this information, I will have a sense of the kind of information users tend to share, and how this is affecting their privacy.

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