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Personal Assistants Changing People’s Lives

  • George Putic

FILE - The iPhone SE is seen on display during an event at the Apple headquarters in Cupertino, California, March 21, 2016.

FILE - The iPhone SE is seen on display during an event at the Apple headquarters in Cupertino, California, March 21, 2016.

Is there anything to be learned from the way children interact with voice activated personal assistants like iPhone's Siri?

Perhaps, but whatever it is it might not bode well for our children, or the robots who might someday live amongst us.

A number of parents say that since Siri or Amazon's Alexa is always patient and tolerant, kids can be downright rude to the phone.

And they are seeing that behavior crossing over into their interactions with flesh and blood personal assistants... aka adults.

When asking Alexa to answer a question or perform a task users are not required to say “please” so parents complain that their kids are not getting used to social graces.

Also, In order to activate Alexa children also have to speak louder, unintentionally acquiring an aggressive tone in their voices.

Some parents say personal assistants should have a ‘family mode’ which would require users to use words such as ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ when talking to their devices. Amazon would not say whether such feature is in the works but as personal assistants improve it is to be expected that they may start responding to rude behavior.

But one other thing is clear, even if you're being rude to Siri she can still save your life.

One new feature of the iPhone 6 introduced last year was that Siri is always listening regardless of the phone being turned on.

This feature may have saved the life of at least one child in Australia.

When Giana Gleeson stopped breathing, due to respiratory infection, her mother immediately started resuscitating her while yelling to Siri to call the ambulance. Not having to dial the number and talk to an operator quite possibly saved the little girl’s life.

Well at least that's one young lady who we assume will have nothing but kind words for Siri.

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