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How could we "passively" activate intelligent assistants?

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jnikola Nov 07, 2022
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"passively" - with less energy or focus compared to typing or voice commands
Voice assistants are currently very popular due to their ease of use and benefit to your time (multitasking) and safety. You can safely call your fiance while driving without looking at your phone, check the weather while dressing, or set up a timer while having dirty hands from cooking. However, they are not perfect. They listen to us even when we are not needing them, they mishear the commands, activate by themselves, teach kids no manners, negatively affect their development, etc.
  • How could we activate intelligent assistants like Siri, Alexa, or others through a more passive means (without voice, touch, or other means)?
  • Can we use something in our skin, body temperature, or other physiological or psychological mechanisms to check the weather via our favorite assistant?
  • Do you have an idea of how our minds could be connected to generate "real-world" output?
  • Is there another way to activate assistants faster, with an emphasis on activation ONLY when we want them?
  • Do you have another creative vision of how future AI-asistants could look like, what shape they could take?

[1]Voice assistants like Alexa and Siri can negatively impact a child’s social development - https://studyfinds.org/voice-assistants-child-development/

Creative contributions

Have a safe word when the assistant mishears

Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni Nov 07, 2022
Set a safe word or sound that when the assistant hears, aborts the actions and resets itself. The safe word phrase could be a single letter like "A" or a simple word that is not common but easy to comprehend even in noise (for example, something like a loud "hey").
Keeping a safe word is not the optimum solution but a temporary fix until we figure out the best solution or until AI becomes more understanding.
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jnikola2 years ago
Although not specifically answer the topic question, your solution, as I understood it, solves the problem of assistant mishearing and activating accidentally. Although it makes sense to have a safe word, I think pressing the home button (or any button) or just answering the assistant's question by keeping silent works better. A safe word is also something that could be misheard and interfere with wanted conversations with assistants.
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General comments

Povilas S
Povilas S2 years ago
Is passive activation really better than "active" activation? The problem you described with assistants activating by themselves and mishearing you all comes from passive activation - voice activation is way more passive than pressing buttons or typing text, but with the latter two, it's less chance of accidental activation and misinterpretations by the assistant. So making the activation even more passive than voice would likely only increase those problems.
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jnikola2 years ago
Povilas S I understand your concerns, but they greatly depend on the type of "passive activation" you or other people come up with. Let's discuss it when the contribution appears.
PS I added a description of "passive" in the challenge description, so there is no confusion.
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