Domestication of Artificial Intelligence: Smart Speakers and Transformation of Everyday Life

Authors

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.14515/monitoring.2021.1.1808

Keywords:

smart speakers, sociology of everyday life, home, artificial intelligence, ethnomethodology

Abstract

Being a relatively recent invention (they appeared in 2014), smart speakers (speakers with an integrated voice assistant) have already become part of many users' home environment. This paper examines what kind of transformations occur in social practices due to the introduction of smart speakers to the domestic life. The article analyses two aspects of the ‘domestication’ of artificial intelligence when using smart speakers: (1) involvement of intelligent devices in everyday home culture and (2) forms and ways of interacting with smart devices. Transformation of home sociality that the introduction of smart speakers leads to, consists, on the one hand, in changing routine domestic practices (cooking, cleaning, music listening, setting an alarm clock, checking the weather report, etc.). In some cases, smart speakers only change the activity’s background, but they transform the same way and frequency of activities in other cases. On the other hand, smart speakers’ introduction leads to new forms of communication that were previously unusual in domestic life. For example, users increasingly shift to loud speech or avoid specific phrases and expressions to protect privacy. Relying on the existing research data and his own auto-ethnographic observations and analysis of parts of conversations with the smart speaker, the author shows that, despite the inventor’s desire to make the use of smart speakers ‘natural’, users do need to develop new forms of interaction and sociality to interact with AI.

Acknowledgments. The article is prepared in collaboration with the SberBank Gamification Lab.

Author Biography

Andrei M. Korbut , National Research University Higher School of Economics

  • National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia
    • Cand. Sci. (Soc.), Senior Researcher at the Center for Fundamental Sociology

Published

2021-03-04

Issue

Section

DIGITALIZATION