Scientists from St. Petersburg Polytechnic University analyzed the issues, who are children aged 5-9 years ask voice assistants, and came to the conclusion, that artificial intelligence they perceive as a living being. They often ask: who is your mom, where do you live, what color is your hair. American scientists came to similar conclusions. In November 2020 of the year in the journal ScienceDirect was published a study. Experts have analyzed the behavior 72 children 5-6 years and the influence of voice assistants on them, and came to the conclusion, that in most cases, young users do not distinguish between AI and a living person, writes Gazeta.Ru. Can frequent communication with voice assistants lead to, that the new generation will grow up to be aggressive and withdrawn sociopaths, which friendship and love will be replaced by a smart and all-understanding gadget, a child and adolescent psychologist told Rosbalt Katerina Murashova.
- Russian and American studies have shown, that children perceive voice assistants as something animate. Can communication with artificial intelligence lead to problems with their socialization in the future??
- It's very difficult to say about the future, because voice assistants have not been around for a long time. But, probably, must be considered, that kids always talked with toys. I.e, any normal child has always turned to toys, gave them names: "Sit down here, Masha doll. I'll give you something to eat now. ". And they perceived this doll Masha as something animated. "The mistress threw the bunny, there was a bunny in the rain ". We just feel sorry for the bunny, that he is alive for us. For children to animate those objects, which adults consider inanimate, Is a variant of the norm. I'm not talking about, that many men, eg, animate their car, and even give her a name. My elderly mom, eg, delighted the tablet, and told him: "Now you and I will do this and that". Although he was without a voice assistant. But since at the end of her life he was an important part of her, a window to the world, she gave him personality.
Most people talk to animals. Okay, we still argue about dogs, what do they understand, what they don't understand. But people talk to canaries too, and with flowers. We understand everything about canary brains.
- I.e, voice assistant is just a new toy?
- Yes, this is a technological toy. A six year old child knows perfectly well, that the doll is not alive. But this does not prevent him from being angry with the doll and talking to her.. I think, that the phenomenon of animating obviously inanimate objects in itself is the norm.
- Many children get full access to smart speakers in 5-6 years, when their gender is formed. Some psychologists believe, that in the future this may lead to, that voice assistants will replace this generation of friends and even lovers. What do you think?
- It seems to me some kind of speculation. I see no logic in this. Child identification - gender, intellectual - it still happens on the basis of, what kind of people do they see around them. Of course, if the child is placed in an isolated room, where only the voice assistant will talk to him, I'm sure, that he will have an identification with this very voice assistants. If the child lives among people, moms surround him, dads, grandmother, grandfathers, sisters, brothers, friends in the kindergarten and so on, and he also has a voice assistant, then his identification will still be associated with people.
- I.e, it is unlikely that in the future he will fall in love with a smart speaker?
- People fall in love with boys, girls, goat, and then there are fetishists and so on. Could there be variations with voice assistants in the future?? Quite. For some, shoes will become a fetish., for someone - a voice from the speaker. And this can be. But we do not declare war on shoes.
- The smart speaker can be handled in any way, she will endure everything, and will answer any rudeness politely or laugh it off. Adults understand the difference between a voice assistant and a living person. But children treat them like they are alive. Can they tolerate rude behavior, which is appropriate with the column, in communication with family or peers?
- I believe, it is the task of adults next to the child - to explain to them, what's the difference between living people and mechanical things. Need to say, that most adults tend to project the other way. If a child, angry, throws a teddy bear on the ground, most adults will tell him: "Well, why did you leave your beloved bear, it hurts him?" I.e, adults tend to, to try to induce the child to empathize with an apparently inanimate object. So I imagine, which is rather an adult, who bought a smart speaker for a child, and hears, like a child is her mother, will tell him: "Listen, this is your interlocutor. Are you sure, it's good to talk to him like that?»
- Is there any age, when children can start communicating with voice assistants? Do I need to dose this communication somehow??
- Since I belong to the pre-Internet generation, I just can't imagine, what rules can be here. I can make a smart face and say: "Well, probably, voice assistants for children can be 4,5 years". But I have no data on this. I think, if a child comes to the house, where there are four columns, with whom adults talk, he just grows up in this house and that's it. What restrictions can there be??