Engaging with smart assistants, reshaping home activities
(SENSE, xdlab, Orange Labs)
Julia Velkovska (Orange Labs)
Paper short abstract:
Drawing on a video-ethnographic study of the usage of voice assistants, we examine how users engage with these systems and how this engagement may reshape everyday home activities. We also consider the social implications of IVAs seen as mediators connecting the inside and the outside of the home.
Paper long abstract:
In this paper we focus on "intelligent" voice assistants (IVA) which are progressively populating home environments. Drawing on video data of the usage of different IVA completed with interviews, we examine how users engage with them at home and how this engagement may reshape everyday activities. Wefocus on two main points: (1) How the use of IVA reshapes activities and routines inside the household? Home assistants are seen as a new mediation for a variety of activities at home, from leisure to information or controlling home devices. We suggest seeing smart speakers as embedded in the ecology of shared spaces and activities. The analysis is informed by conversation analysis and ethnomethodology to discuss how daily routine activities are performed and reshaped through the use of smart speakers. We shed lights on how those mediations are embedded in the materiality of daily routines. (2) How the use of IVA reshapes the border between the inside of the home and the outside world? IVA are also acting as mediators (Latour 2005) connecting the inside and the outside of the home world. We explore both social practices and regulators recommendations and warnings aiming to manage this border between the inside and the outside, the private and the public, between trust and mistrust. Our study shows on the empirical level that the diffusion of IVA raises a number of questions concerning interaction and appropriation. It also raises questions about ethical, legal and political framework regarding issues such as privacy, trust, the autonomy of machines.
The social life of smart homes