It was only a matter of time — as technology creeps into every aspect of our everyday lives, it has just been revealed that Siri, Alexa and the rest of the AI gang has become the subject of sexual fantasies for consumers.
The events of Her seemed to depict a distant future, where romance blossoms between a man and his operating system (tbf, if Scarlett Johansson was whispering in our ear we’d probably do the same), subverting traditional expectations of love.
Mindshare and JWT Innovation Group found in an industry trend report entitled “Speak Easy” that among over 1000 subjects in the UK, over a quarter have fantasized about their voice assistants.
The report plays up to its subject — describing with great care and detail the special “relationship” that users form with their devices. Try and highlight every sexual innuendo that crops up before the big announcement on page 27. Subtle but ever present.
While Siri was never the favorite child in the Apple family, the study reports that the likes of Alexa from Amazon and Microsoft’s offering Cortana seem to be giving voice technology a new appeal among consumers.
The report reads:
“There has always been something that gets in the way of our relationship with technology; the keyboard, the mouse, the screen.
We’re now ready for the most natural and intuitive form of interaction – the voice.”
This suggestive vocabulary continues, way before the S word is even mentioned. “Allow us to get more intimate with technology” they tease, and then confess that “voice is generating excitement”. We’ll let you fill in the gaps.
Speak Easy carries on, highlighting that people tend to use voice assistants for efficiency (assigning tasks mostly), but also for the novelty and excitement that comes with the bad jokes and pick up lines from Siri.
“Once trust grows, emotional bonds can grow too”
It seems that the thrill of the tease keeps users coming back for more and dreaming about their new companions. The report shows that voice technology usage mostly occurs in “private spaces”, and that 22% of subjects said “I feel stupid using it”, neglecting voice assistants because they’re embarrassed to try it. Sound familiar?
A whopping 60% of respondents said that “if voice assistants could understand me properly and speak back to me as well as a human can, I’d use them all the time.” The study refers to voice usage as a relationship between humans and technology throughout, giving key advice about trust and intimacy, ultimately explaining the anthropomorphization of the digital assistant.
44% of smartphone users are confident that the rise of voice assistants will actually lead to a deepening in human interactions. By lifting our eyes from screens and just talking to our machines instead of fiddling with an LCD display, voice technology will allow users to be connected to technology on an intimate level while at the same time gaining a form of liberation as they actually look at the real world with their own eyes again.
“Once trust grows, emotional bonds can grow, too”, they say. Maybe once Google gives their voice technology a better name than Assistant, they could join Siri in the high ranks of sexual fantasies too. Physical, emotional, digital — what’s in the name of love anyway?
“If we are truly about to enter the voice era, then understanding consumer appetite is critical”, Speak Easy explains. We’ll let you be the judge of which appetite that is — but anyway, apparently sex with robots will be completely normal by 2040. So it’s fine. Totally fine.
Orginally published on Konbini