t’s three each morning and my room is bathed inside glow of my phone. Like one in three people, I check my smartphone after i get up in the center of night. Could not sleep and therefore wander from just one social-media app to another, my thumbs scrolling through what sounds like miles of emptiness. “Siri, what exactly is the meaning of life?” I ask without thinking. “I have stopped asking myself these question,” she answers. I ask again, because I as if it better when she says “nothing Nietzsche wouldn’t teach you”.
I am not the only one looking towards Siri for all his life advice. Apple currently is recruiting a Siri engineer having a background in psychology to provide its marketing assistant better at answering these sorts of questions.
“People speak with Siri about everything, including if they’re using a stressful day or have something serious with their mind. They go to Siri in emergencies or when they want guidance on living a healthier life”, says the position ad.
More than 50 % of interactions with Amazon’s virtual assistant Alexa are “non utilitarian and entertainment related”, using the company, a category that also includes existential questions and confidences.
Google provides a full “personality team” in the united states comprised of comedy writers, video-game designers and mysteriously named “empathy experts”, in charge of defining strategies to complicated questions asked of Google Assistant. Microsoft, meanwhile, comes with a “editorial team” responsible “for crafting and creating Cortana’s responses to make sure that the whole responses ladder about Cortana’s core personality pillars”.
Have many of us gone crazy, whispering confidences into our electronic devices? I really don’t think so. Speaking to my phone, I cannot feel any different from Ross in the fifth season of Friends, asking a Magic 8 ball if he should stop seeing Rachel.
“Discussions with his phones assist us introspect,” says Alexandre Lacroix, a French philosopher who investigated how the internet disrupts our lives in Ce qui nous relie