I am currently studying privacy and convenience in the use of smart speakers in the UK.
Smart speaker ownership continues to grow, reducing the boundaries between corporations and consumers. More than one in five people in the UK now have access to at least one artificially intelligent (AI) smart speaker in their home (Quadrangle, 2020). For the people living with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple Siri, smart speaker assistants offer convenience in many aspects of home-life. However, what are the dangers of having a smart speaker in your home that’s always listening?
In my research, I explore the intriguing relationship between people and their smart speakers. Using mobile ethnography and surveys, I am looking at how privacy and convenience are being exchanged. I aim to understand what, if anything, has changed since GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). How do the themes of privacy and convenience affect how people interact with their AI smart speakers?
I presented my initial findings at the 2019 Anthropology + Technology Conference.
In 2020, I spoke about my research on the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland podcast, Being Human. Listen to the episode ‘Are the robots trying to kill us?’ featuring myself, Beth Singler, Alex R.E. Taylor, and host Jennifer Cearns.