It was interesting to note the impact of social pressure. In general, people were more comfortable using voice commands when by themselves first, then with friends next, and then not so much with people they don't know very well. As an exception to this, people feel a bit more self-conscious about doing so when in a restaurant by themselves, and the presence of friends made them more likely to use voice commands with their smartphones (it grew from 23.1% to 28.4% of people being likely or very likely to do so). Some of our respondents were even likely or very likely to use voice commands in a public restroom (13%) or in a theater (7.7%).
Researchers have demonstrated how garbled speech commands hidden in radio or video broadcasts could be used to control a smartphone. The clips, which sound like the Daleks from Doctor Who, can be difficult for humans to understand but still trigger a phone's voice control functionality. The commands could make a smartphone share its location data, make calls and access compromised websites. One security expert said users could switch off automatic voice recognition. The researchers - from the University of California, Berkeley and Georgetown University - explored whether audio commands "unintelligible to human listeners" were still interpreted by smartphones as voice commands.
Samsung's virtual assistant Bixby has added voice commands for UK users for the first time. The artificial intelligence-powered assistant first appeared on Samsung's Galaxy S8 and S8 smartphones earlier this year and enables users to ask questions and quickly access different parts of their smartphone using command prompts. Until now, voice commands had only been available in the US and South Korea, with only text and camera-based feature accessible to users outside these countries. But the UK is now one of more than 200 countries included in the expansion, which can be triggered by saying "Hi, Bixby". Similar to other smart assistant's including Apple's Siri, Google Assistant and Amazon's Alexa, Bixby understands and responds to voice commands on scheduling, news updates and weather reports, as well as launching apps on a user's smartphone.
Digital personal assistants, such as Amazon's Alexa and Apple's Siri, are sexist, according to one expert. They struggle to understand quiet and'breathy' voices of women compared with the deeper voices of men. The software is often developed with the help of male voice examples and so lacks a deeper understanding of female commands. The comment was made by Delip Rao, the CEO and co-founder of R7 Speech Sciences, a company that uses artificial intelligence to understand speech. Voice recognition software is built-in to most modern devices and has been around for years.
Smart home devices understand men better than women, according to a new YouGov survey. It found 67 per cent of female owners say that their device fails to respond to a voice command at least'sometimes', compared to 54 per cent of male owners. It also revealed men are ruder to their devices but experience fewer problems being understood. Men are more likely to take an brusque tone with theirs than women yet women have more problems with getting a response to their commands. The smart devices seem to respond less well to women than men, based on the survey results.