Should You Be Polite To Siri?

The use of artificial intelligence-powered voice assistants has been prevalent in today’s generation. Whether it’s for weather, news, homework help, or just simply asking Alexa, Google Assistant or Apple’s Siri to do something on our behalf, these interactions with these voice assistants are frequent and can be done by anyone. This current situation begs the question as to whether or not these machines deserve the respect we give towards fellow human beings, should we use words like “please” and “sorry” when we ask these voice assistants to look at the weather for us? USA Today has the details: 

Dr. Laura Phillips, a clinical neuropsychologist at the Child Mind Institute, says the answers are “complicated and really nuanced."
What makes things more complicated is that “digital assistants have this aura of authority,” says Dr. Pamela Rutledge, director of the Media Psychological Research Center in Newport Beach, California. We may know that they’re not human, but to kids, "they sound like adults, know lots of stuff and are easy to anthropomorphize." As conversational interfaces and AI evolves further, such distinctions may blur further.
"Kids learn through repetition, which is why we all say, 'What’s the magic word?' infinitum,” she says. 
“These AI-driven, non-human entities don’t care if you sound tired and crabby, or if you are purposely rude because it’s 'funny.' But interactions of all kinds build patterns of communication and interaction. The more you are used to bossing Siri around or bullying her, the more you’re used to that communication pattern," Rutledge says
In Iowa City, senior marketing manager Dana Turner says her husband has come up with another sound reason for treating voice assistants nicely. He “always says 'thank you’ to her because, he says, one day AI is going to take over the world and he wants to be saved.”

image credit: via wikimedia commons

Code-switching is a thing that most people are pretty adept at. While polite manners are important in speaking to real people, they serve no purpose in talking to robots. Clarity and brevity are more important.
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I don't always say please or thank you to my Alexa but I do always use a polite tone of voice -- but I think the Addams family modeled good behavior for these circumstances decades ago, by always kindly saying, "Thank you, Thing." If they could do that for a disembodied hand, I can do it for the glowing blue line that does so much for me!
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