There has recently been a lot of talk about how smart devices interact with people instantaneously, will Alexa respond to this child? Why or why not? Is there a women's voice? Do people like that, why or why not?
But are we taking the time to consider a more long term effect. It is not just important that Alexa respond to a child, and in reality it is questionable if that is important at all, but rather will Alexa teach a child how to interact better with a machine (designed for this child's understanding) than the humans around it. If having another sibling helps children interact better with other children (needs a reference) than does a possibly wealthier child with Alexa etc. or a lonelier child using Google Assistant (arguably more accessible) find themselves better suited for smart devices over other children? I suppose the real question is what happens when all nurturing comes from robotic devices, designed with the best intentions (accessibility to all), alienate our ability to interact with others. Does it do this? Or does it give us something to interact with rather than nothing? And perhaps this an argument for smartdevices to be as human as possible so that the skills developed with interacting with them can be passed on to other situations involving other humans.
A personal example is how I speak differently with my mother, her grammar is different because she is bilingual. I take on some of these grammar differences because I am nurtured by that environment. I hear her way of speaking and I impersonate it, which is a typical way that `children learn. And although I don't believe this is unchangeable (for instance growing up with slurs used around you constantly and choosing to alter your language) it does work on a level which is subconscious.
And I see similar things happen with Alexa, but to a greater (or quicker) extent because instead of pretending to understand me, Alexa reacts negatively (silent, or I'm sorry (which is not a neutral response)) to my phrasing. And so I have to try, and try again to participate with Alexa. What kind of implications does that have for children? Or adults?
When we look at language, we can see how malleable it is, but often ruled by the majority (references towards Saussure). The language of robotics is based on quantifiable standards and lacks subjectivity (reference), which means there is one way of phrasing which works best despite an AI learning, because their learning is still decisive on what works best for them, not for us. Therefore this miscommunication will cause us to adjust our intelligence more than them, because we for now still adjust faster than a machine (reference). Maybe this is symbiotic in nature, requiring an AI to learn and us to learn, but it errs towards our need for them outweighing their need for us. A symbiosis that leaves us at a disadvantage.
“Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing.” Orwell, 1984