Alexa, are you ac­tu­ally qual­i­fied to of­fer cou­ples coun­selling?

The Guardian - G2 - - Passnotes | Shorcuts -

Vir­tual as­sis­tants such as Alexa and Google Home will very soon be able to lis­ten to cou­ples at home and pre­dict, with 75% accuracy, the like­li­hood of a re­la­tion­ship suc­ceed­ing. Re­searchers at Im­pe­rial Col­lege Busi­ness School say acous­tic anal­y­sis of in­ter­per­sonal pat­terns would lead to tai­lored re­la­tion­ship ad­vice. In other words, de­vices will eaves­drop on ar­gu­ments, then stick their oar in, prob­a­bly with a mis­heard Wikipedia page or YouTube video. “I WANT YOU TO DO THE BINS,” some­one will scream, at the end of their tether. “Here’s I Want a Benz, ft Nipsey Hus­tle and 50 Cent,” Alexa will in­ter­rupt, drown­ing out the bud­ding ar­gu­ment with ir­rel­e­vant hip-hop.

Not that re­la­tion­ships should be im­mune to out­side anal­y­sis – far from it. Iden­ti­fy­ing fric­tion be­tween com­mu­ni­ca­tions styles – for in­stance be­tween “re­port” speech con­cern­ing facts and “rap­port” speech which builds re­la­tion­ship – can work won­ders. Michelle Obama re­cently dis­cussed how she and her hus­band have gone through cou­ples coun­selling; their re­la­tion­ship is such a model of re­spect and love that it has be­come a totem of those virtues in our bit­ter world. Ev­ery­one should do cou­ples coun­selling. You are learn­ing an emo­tional lan­guage to­gether, to en­sure you stay healthy.

Elec­tronic as­sis­tants do have an ad­van­tage, in that they speak so dis­pas­sion­ately and slowly that any anger in the room will even­tu­ally dis­si­pated and re­placed by mild bore­dom. But the bald fact is they ex­ist pri­mar­ily to make us more ef­fi­cient con­sumers. Do­mes­tic con­tent­ment is an­ti­thet­i­cal to their pri­mary ob­jec­tive, and the only re­la­tion­ship they are truly in­vested in is that of us as in­den­tured cor­po­rate vas­sals. Do any per­sons here have rea­son­able ob­jec­tion to Cor­tana be­ing put in charge of hu­man re­la­tion­ships? I do.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.