Craving a bite to eat? What follows is a series of familiar actions: you pull out your iPhone, and ask, "Siri, where can I get something to eat?" In less than the six seconds it takes to do all that, #Siri pulls up an extensive list of places at which you can fulfill your hankering for a hamburger.

The only thing lacking in the process? A “please” and “thank you”. It seems silly, almost ridiculous to thank a #Virtual Assistant. So we don’t, and in return our social graces suffer.

Do manners belong in a museum?

San Francisco Dad, Hunter Walk lamented this very case on his blog on hunterwalk.com saying, “You see, the prompt command to activate the Echo is ‘Alexa…’ not ‘Alexa, please.’ And Alexa doesn’t require a ‘thank you’ before it’s ready to perform another task.”

The use of virtual assistants has concocted the phenomenon of experiencing human interaction sans the emotion, hence the reason you don’t feel the need to add a “thank you” at the end of your virtual interaction.

Advertisements
Advertisements

Walk added, “At the very least, it creates patterns and reinforcement that so long as your diction is good, you can get what you want without niceties.”

In other words, are we getting too bossy?

According to USA Today, at least once a month, 35.6 million Americans will use a voice-activated assistant device this year alone with #Apple’s Siri voice assistant topping the charts as “the most liked and most used of the top assistants”, followed by Google Assistant, and Amazon’s Alexa as reported by an exclusive survey for USA Today.

A study conducted by psychologist Peter Kahn at the University of Washington studied the interactions of children playing “I Spy” with Robovie, a remote-controlled robot with human-like qualities. The children were first given a turn to guess the object Robovie saw, and then Robovie was given a turn to guess the object the child saw.

Advertisements

However, Robovie’s turn was cut short abruptly and put in a closet.

According to the phys.org featured study, the children believed that Robovie should be denied some civil liberties, such as the right to vote and being paid to work.The real issue Kahn addressed is the seamless integration of these virtual beings into our daily lives. What today may be as simple as asking Siri or Alexa for a list of dining suggestions, could easily expand to making a call and holding a conversation, eliminating the need for you to ever have to call up your local pizza joint and place an order.

Seamless integration into everyday life

Kahn told USA Today, “As smarter, more life-like computers become increasingly alluring, irreplaceable aspects of human interaction could atrophy in the process.” “One solution,” Kahn continued in his USA Today interview, “is for families with smart speakers to simply stay intentional about deepening their relationships through intentional, loving interactions. Alexa can already sing lullabies to children and read them bedtime stories.

Advertisements

But a machine can’t know a child the way a parent does,” he added.

So what do these virtual assistants have that make them so irresistible - besides the ability to communicate, free from social graces? There’s a term that’s come to light for this sort of seamless integration, called “ambient computing”. USA Today’s Bob O’Donnell explains, “The idea is that computing capability will end up being embedded in devices ranging from speakers to automobiles, and will provide capabilities and services to us throughout the day via the environment around us,” he said.

Yet it seems foolish to show gratitude to Siri or Alexa after completing a request, just for the sake of practicing etiquette. Or maybe, allowing our virtual assistants to continue with a task, after punctuating a search with a “thanks” is exactly what we need. After all, how hard is it really to say “please” and “thank you”?