Shhhh – someone might be listening!

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One in five people avoid their voice assistant at home 

The majority of people using voice assistants have trust issues with their devices, especially around handling money, according to a new study from Accenture.

More than a quarter (28 per cent) shy away from using their device to make payments, others worry about transferring money (27 per cent) and using it to pay bills (28 per cent).

This reluctance, for more than half of people (52 per cent), comes from concerns about security or a fear of being hacked and having their personal details stolen (55 per cent). This is according to a survey of 1,000 people who use a voice-controlled device.

However, over and above its uses, more than one in five admit to leaving the room or lowering their voice to make sure their device can’t spy on them and 48 per cent believe the technology is always listening – even when they’ve not been given a command.

“The take-up for voice assistants has been big, especially when you consider they’re a very new technology. However, many people are not using them to their full potential because of trust issues. There are a lot of mis-conceptions out there about how these voice assistants work” comments Emma Kendrew, Artificial Intelligence Lead for Accenture.

While voice assistants mean sophisticated functionality is just a simple command away, most people use theirs for only basic tasks. On average, users are speaking to their voice assistant four times a day – more often than they speak to their family – but they are still most likely to use it to answer a random question or find out a fact (54 per cent), followed by checking the weather forecast (50 per cent) and listening to music (45 per cent).

More than one in five (22 per cent) admit that they don’t use their voice assistant more because they don’t trust it. The average user is taking advantage of only six of their device’s functions, which is barely the tip of the iceberg when the Amazon Echo, for example, has over 45,000 to choose from.

“Customers are sending a clear message that they need to feel greater confidence in the technology and its providers. We’re confident that this trust will develop as more security standards and integrity are built into voice technology. E-commerce and online banking went through the same stages of development – once there is tighter security, people will use it more. Once voice assistants are seen as more trustworthy, people will come to see how they can improve everyday tasks, literally without lifting a finger.” — Emma Kendrew, Artificial Intelligence Lead for Accenture Technology in the U.K. 

“Stats like these – on the face of it – illustrate a challenging situation for technology that has fundamentally been designed to help people. Artificial intelligence and the voice assistants that use it are examples of technology that should serve humanity. So as the developers of these services, we need to bridge that trust gap, so that people can see and make use of the many benefits instead. One avenue is for technology companies to extend their work with financial institutions to create services that consumers have greater trust and confidence in.”