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Dehumanization in the IoT: Experiential Consequences of Syntactically Constricted Human-Machine Interaction

28 November 2019 at 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM

Room 205b, Campus on Viale Romania, 32

Speaker: Christian Hildebrand, University of St. Gallen


The use of natural language and voice-based interfaces gradually transforms how consumers search, shop, and express their preferences. In four studies, the current work explores how changes in the syntactical structure of the interaction with conversational interfaces (command vs. request based expression modalities) negatively affects consumers’ subjective task enjoyment and systematically alters objective vocal features in the human voice. We show that requests (vs. commands) lead to an increase in phonetic convergence and lower phonetic latency, and ultimately a more natural task experience for consumers.To the best of our knowledge, this is the first work documenting that altering the input modality of how consumers interact with smart objects systematically affects consumers’ IoT experience. We provide evidence that altering the required input to initiate a conversation with smart objects provokes systematic changes both in terms of consumers’ subjective experience and objective phonetic changes in the human voice. The current research also makes a methodological contribution by highlighting the unexplored potential of feature extraction in human voice as a novel data format linking consumers’ vocal features during speech formation and their subjective task experiences.