Remember that episode of Westworld where the grieving widow uses technology to fill the void left by the husband's sudden demise? Turns out, reality is not too far behind the futuristic TV series — for 26 percent of UK, at least.
According to research conducted on voice technology and digital assistants by J. Walter Thompson Innovation Group and Mindshare Futures, just a little over a quarter of the respondents had had sexual fantasies about their voice assistant. Sexual fantasies about Siri. Or Alexa. Or Cortana. Or Google Assistant. Or or any of the dozens of available "home companion" gadgets and software.
Weird? Interesting? Or, just a tad bit extreme? Maybe a little of all three.
37 percent of regular users said that they "loved their digital assistants so much, they wished it were a real person.
These carnal yearnings stem from a growing dependence and love. No really, love. Which could well mean that these feelings will only grow as AI and voice technology become more sophisticated, integrated and predictive.
According to the report, 32 percent of smartphone users are excited about a future where their "voice assistant will anticipate what [they] need and take actions or make suggestions." And, 37 percent of regular users said that they "loved their digital assistants so much, they wished it were a real person." This, of course, chimes with the 70 percent users who said that when they talk to their voice assistant, they want to feel like they're talking to a real human being.
44 percent users said voice technology will increase human interaction because people won't be looking down at their screens anymore.
Strangely, even as these numbers indicate a growing dependence on technology, not just for the sake of convenience, but emotionally as well, users seem to have an unorthodox take on the trend — 44 percent of smartphone users said they believe voice technology will increase human interaction because people won't be looking down at their screens all the time anymore.
In this unsettling but understandable confluence of emotions and experiences that make humans, well, humans, and technology, what is the future of love? Will it die? Or, is the anthropomorphisation of voice assistants going to be an acceptable alternative?