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Exploring Verbal Uncanny Valley Effects with Vague Language in Computer Speech / Leigh Clark; Abdulmalik Ofemile; Benjamin R. Cowan

Voice Attractiveness, Pages: 317 - 330

Swansea University Author: Leigh, Clark

  • Accepted Manuscript under embargo until: 11th October 2022

Abstract

Interactions with speech interfaces are growing, helped by the advent of intelligent personal assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. This software is utilised in hardware such as smart home devices (e.g. Amazon Echo and Google Home), smartphones and vehicles. Given the unprecedented leve...

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Published in: Voice Attractiveness
ISBN: 9789811566264 9789811566271
ISSN: 2197-8700 2197-8719
Published: Singapore Springer Singapore 2021
Online Access: Check full text

URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa55413
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Abstract: Interactions with speech interfaces are growing, helped by the advent of intelligent personal assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. This software is utilised in hardware such as smart home devices (e.g. Amazon Echo and Google Home), smartphones and vehicles. Given the unprecedented level of spoken interactions with machines, it is important we understand what is considered appropriate, desirable and attractive computer speech. Previous research has suggested that the overuse of humanlike voices in limited-communication devices can induce uncanny valley effects—a perceptual tension arising from mismatched stimuli causing incongruence between users’ expectations of a system and its actual capabilities. This chapter explores the possibility of verbal uncanny valley effects in computer speech by utilising the interpersonal linguistic strategies of politeness, relational work and vague language. This work highlights that using these strategies can create perceptual tension and negative experiences due to the conflicting stimuli of computer speech and ‘humanlike’ language. This tension can be somewhat moderated with more humanlike than robotic voices, though not alleviated completely. Considerations for the design of computer speech and subsequent future research directions are discussed.
Item Description: This research was funded by a New Horizons grant from the Irish Research Council entitled “The COG-SIS Project: Cognitive effects of Speech Interface Synthesis” (Grant R17339).
Keywords: Speech interface, Voice interface, Intelligent personal assistant, Uncanny valley, Humanlike, Politeness, Vague language
College: College of Science
Start Page: 317
End Page: 330