While some people are underwhelmed by virtual assistants, others want to be alone with them

A report on the state of the virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa has revealed users are underwhelmed by their capabilities and feel as though the technology has been oversold.

The report, produced by media company Mindshare, reveales that people who use virtual assistants are unimpressed by the current sophistication of the technology and feel they don’t match up to versions seen in TV and films, such as HAL 9000, Iron Man’s JARVIS or the androids form Channel Four’s Humans.

“People want voice assistants to show greater understanding, be able to initiate conversations, and preemptively solve problems. Of regular Alexa users, 46% would like back-and-forth dialogue to get to better answers.

“This is about knowing preferences, remembering past behaviors, and delivering better service as a result,” reads Mindshare’s report.

Image courtesy of iphonedigital. Featured image courtesy of Channel Four

Despite some people being unimpressed by the current state of virtual assistants, other users appeared to be a little too happy with theirs.

Of the respondents who use virtual assistants regularly, over a third (37%) said that they love their voice assistant so much that they wish it were a real person.

But even more surprisingly, more than a quarter of regular voice assistant users said they have had a sexual fantasy about their voice assistant.

“It is interesting, when something acts naturally and human back to you, how much we imbue it with sentience, with human personality,” said cofounder and chief technology officer at PullString, Martin Reddy.

Although some users are, a little too, enamoured by their virtual assistants, another 44% of regular users said that they were worried about companies listening to the conversations they have with their voice assistant.

While Mindshare did acknowledge privacy concerns were a real concern for some users, the company said it doesn’t necessarily mean that people are willing to modify their behaviour or stop using virtual assistants altogether.

Mindshare’s report Speak Easy: The Future Answers to You is available here.

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