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Aug. 4, 2016

Human Factors Cast E003 - Computers are social actors and Amazon Echo

This week on the show, Nick and Billy talk about …

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This week on the show, Nick and Billy talk about the social role computers play in our everyday lives, and they tackle reviewing the Amazon Echo.

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| Disclaimer: Transcript provided by YouTube automatic Closed Caption. Any inaccuracies or errors are not attributed to the Hosts or contributors to Human Factors Cast. |


on the show today we're talking to computers and reviewing the Amazon echo

welcome to human factors cast your weekly podcast for all things human factors psychology and design carry your host Nick Rome and Billy Hall hey everyone welcome to the show my name's Nick Rome I deal with post-it notes for a living in them with me I'm joined blood today by mr. Billy Hall hi how's it going today I hope everyone's having a wonderful day for work I deal with people cuz I love the people do you love people I love people all the time I deal with people too but today I dealt more with post-it notes than anything okay passive-aggressive both to notes like cards against humanity' not not passive-aggressive no we put in capital letters get the old quick summation point no we did a big task analysis breaking down a user's interaction with a with an interface and I'm really drained happy Wednesday thank you I guess I guess it's Thursday to our listeners oh right right right we record these a little bit in advance because we're busy people with busy lives but uh ok so what are we talking about today well today we're gonna be talking about computers as social actors and you know this is a field that's kind of taken off in the last couple a couple years you know that that basically kind of looks at how we interact with computers as you know we talked to them a lot right some a lot of times I use my Google to talk to everything but are we talking like mr. robot or terminator level stuff here or are we talking about like my google app uh you know we're talking more like the the social component of it right so just interacting with them specifically in a voice based manner cuz we're talking about the echo a little later today mm-hmm but you know I mean I guess you know one of the one of the things that we can go into is what is an interface like I'm looking at this and I'm telling you're telling me about these things but what is exactly an interface necess I mean I always think of it like computer interface which is the screen with little files and click on Mouse's and you go to websites and you play games on it like what do you mean by interface right well you're not wrong I mean an interface is basically anything that lets some user interact with a computer or a system or or something really it's just a way for a user to interact with something so this could be this could be anything from you know you know the button dials on your washing machine or the knobs on your fans it's really hot out there now so everyone's that's an interface you're interacting with that device and you know as simple as a fan is you turn the knob and it set it the speed over there yeah that knob is the interface cuz that is how you're controlling okay so an interface is kind of anything that makes it so that you know human can contact it but we're talking about like communication things like that we're talking about like we talked to computers which sometimes is really cool like when I talk to Google or Siri and they ask me to tell you a joke and but sometimes it fills me with anger when I talk and when I call customer support and they have hi how can I help you today and it's all automated it's all automated that drives me insane why does that drive you insane I don't know like I think it's because I like the idea of talking to an actual person like maybe the computer can't help me as quickly or as efficiently doesn't understand what I'm going through maybe now Billy let me stop you there why why do you think the computer can't help you computers are really smart now you'd you'd think that maybe they can help you out right well I mean like computers I use a computer every day I use my cell phone and I use my computer at work and then they help you out and doing your job they do help me out of doing my job but I mean when I'm talking to a computer it feels like I have less control okay why now why do you I'm just kind of digging deep into this why do you feel like you have less control what what about it makes you feel like there's no well I mean like let's go through it I call something up let's say I have a problem with my I don't know my phone okay my phone okay so I call my phone they're like would you like soap hang on all right how are you gonna call if you have a problem with your phone if I have a problem with my cellular phone and I use a landline you're still using a landline this is 2016 man I like my landline phone thank you very much I don't understand why I have it but they always hand them to me when you get cable internet so I call somebody up and they're like for English press one bum blah blah blah press two and add the languages that they go down and I call press one and they were like well we're going to help you with that but then I just kind of spam zero until I talk to an actual person okay so so you just you just want to get straight to the point you want somebody to talk to right what if what if this computer was convincing enough to talk back to you in a way that made you feel like it was a human being with that I've seen the movie here so I'm not falling into this trap with you okay all right quit playing on my loneliness sir you have a fiancee right right right

no but I mean like it seems like there's limits to the idea of communicating with it it seems like there are limits but why do we talk to computers like why why do we use that instead of people it seems like we would create more you know jobs or things like that if I mean I know a lot of people who work in tech support and call centers but why do we use computers well that's a matter of automation right I mean if you can automate a job you save a lot of money but I think really what you're getting at is you know what what can it take for a computer to successfully fool you or not necessarily fool you but interact with you in the sense that you you get out of it what you want mm-hmm you know and there's a there's this field called computers or social actors and you know in this field it's basically saying that you interact with the computer in the same way that you would interact with a human or you want to interact with a computer in the same way that you'd interact with a human so for example computers share these sort of social qualities that are very similar to humans so you know for one when a computer gives you some sort of output it's in words it's in English it's Airy or whatever language that you speak it's you can read it and it kind of gives you this output and especially if you're you know if you have some sort of interface that reads to you or you know repeats back something to you so there's some audio component to it if it you know it does this then it's it it even more hammers home that point because it's words as output it's not speaking a different language it's not like you're interacting with a completely foreign thing right so that's one of them there's also the interactivity right so this you interact with humans every day and then you interact with computers probably every day depending on what you do for your work mm-hmm or if you're listening to this podcast you interact with a computer in some capacity go into SoundCloud you download it you found it on Facebook Yahoo Yahoo yeah soon to be on iTunes yeah yeah we're moving up in the world soon stay tuned for iTunes but yeah I mean computers are interactive right so they have this component to them that you do you provide some input and then you get that output that is recited to you or present it to you in words now there's this third sort of attribute here where it I mean we mentioned you know that there was this sort of automation component right and and the third pillar of this this field is that you know it performs human tasks mm-hmm right now before you would have something like a librarian poring through all these articles and and books trying to find the information that you requested oh I love librarians it's the coolest job in the world in my opinion I'm not kidding I love it you know who is my favorite librarian huh Google no but there's differences to it well London being has can make choices and decisions and and and and and collate data and also look for things that aren't necessarily keywords for deeper meanings and points like I mean like so your eyes are getting there but a human interface you're right and this is a really interesting topic we should really pick up automation in another one of our episodes do I keep going to do you keep going to automate shot I'm really interested in this now but we all do that for a future episode stay tuned know so what you're getting at though is that they do the day ok so they are limited right they can't computers main drawback is that they can't analyze in the same way that a human can and they're getting better and better about this you know every day that you go through or every day you know there's there's some new breakthrough that allows computers to perform these algorithms that are very similar to the human mind but what I'm getting at here is that the job of going through and finding everything that might be you know if you went to a library chances are you wouldn't want the librarian to come up with a solution to your problem you want her or him to go look here are the books that might have what you need you go through them and analyze yourself mm-hm Google does that it goes through and says all right you want something that says this in it I'm gonna go through and find everything with that in it and give it to you you can analyze so it takes a human job right it takes these these jobs that are traditionally for for humans to do and I mean you could you could think of a lot of different applications another one would be like you know calculating calculating just in general right okay like my little ti-83 calculator an accountant now TurboTax does all that for you I know that we're not talking about the idea of robots and automation but really it's starting to freak me out how many jobs are being taken by the darn computers let's talk about that next episode I'm sorry all right you're absolutely alright you heard it here first for talking automation next episode uh but I mean like we're talking about the idea of like computers as social actors what does that mean exactly so that's that's an entire field right that's a subfield these are kind of the pillars that we just talked about right is that it computers have these attributes and you know they basically sort of tell the human how they should interact with these interfaces right mm-hmm and so they especially in the in the the context of like voice based interfaces you have sort of this this absent-minded response right if I'm kind of jumping ahead here but we're talking about the Amazon echo today you know if she says something to you you say okay even if she's not listening right and you know it's stuff like that see Alexa the persona of Alexa is a social actor in the sense that I don't think she's a human right so she's not passing or she's not trying to pass any sort of she's not trying to fool me in any way but you know I interact with her as if she's a human I see what you mean like the idea of it is is that when I use my Google I always say thank you at the end of it just because I'm polite kind of guy right well that yeah and I mean you know it all comes down to the social aspect of the computer right so if you if you were to ever go into the text to speech on your computer and put in something dirty or funny or whatever and you hear the computer speak it it kind of it kind of breaks this appropriateness that you would expect out of a human well oh right and and the fact that you laugh at it when a computer does it informs you that the computer might have those same standards according to you hold on a minute III for those who remember there used to be a program that was taught in school called hyper studios it was kind of like an early version of PowerPoint but you could make little animations in it right that's what I did in junior high um we used to do the same thing because they would have the voice to text speech and we would use to put like ridiculous silly things like that but you're saying that it was not funny because I got a computer voice to say these things it was because of the fact that I was basically it'd be like if I was saying these things yeah yeah yeah it kind of breaks those social expectations that you have right even though they're not a human we're saying here or this field is saying rather that computers are social actors and that they should abide by these social rules right so like something as you know as benign well not as not benign let's be real here gender stereotyping is not benign but that's a thing that you do with computers right so there have been a ton of studies on how we perceive different voices mm-hmm and some of them are negative some of them are positive I'm gonna focus here more on the positive though so like there's been a study where and this was done in 1997 where they kind of looked at what humans were expecting for these or I guess okay so they talked about these these topics and the female gender was more it was considered the female gender voice was considered more of a neck spurt in things like love and relationships and the male voice was seen as being more proficient in like technical skills over the female voice so just the matter of who you choose to speak well alter your opinion on how much you can trust that computer but then why do we honor all our GPS does have a female automated voice you can change it to male can you in a lot of cases you can there's you know and there's different preferences right you can you can like I want an Australian male I want an Australian female I want a UK male I want a UK female I want a u.s. male in u.s. people there's all these different things right and I know anecdotally when I'm in my car I'm gonna go off on a slight tangent here okay go on because let's go down this brick road with you right through this this is the first time I've really mentioned how much I love Star Wars on the show well really we've been like this is our third episode and you still have your right I'm proud of you you know what I've been refraining but if you seriously have any Star Wars questions send them my way I probably won't answer them on the show but I'd be more than happy to time maybe we'll do like a [ __ ] cast let's bring it back in I would love to do a Star Wars podcast I listen to a couple of them rebel force radio colliders Jedi Council anyway if you guys right okay let's bring it back in so we're talking about GPS apps and voices and computers of social actors so mm-hmm there's a reason why I brought of Star Wars so a couple months ago when the force awakens was coming out Waze came out with a it's like a voice pack and Anthony Daniels the voice of c-3po right was able to navigate me to the premiere of the force awakens and I just thought that was really cool mm-hmm but does he ever time it's like odds are you'll see this to your left so you could just tell him never tell me the odds never tell me the odds no he you know in seven meters turn left that was terrible it was a terrible Anthony Daniels impression but it was no they really go anyway anyway no so yeah I mean they they have these attributes to them and and you know there's there's a couple other ones like reciprocity right where you have you know it it does something for you so you're you feel more inclined to do something where I am NOT a college-educated man you're using those five dollar reciprocity words and that's making me reciprocity did I use that right reciprocity damn it so close I don't well I don't even know prosody mean reciprocity means I give you something you give me something back all right and so when a computer will give you help or some sort of benefits right this this invokes in the humans a mindless response that kind of make them feel like they're obligated to help the computer right right wait a minute so is that why I'm angry at the computer because I feel like I have to control the computer am i a computer racist you might also be angry at the computer because you gave the computer something but they didn't give you something back am i racist against computers I don't know own are you oh no I've got to have a serious conversation with Siri when I get done with this right and then so there this is this next point kind of comes back to what we were talking about earlier with the different voices that you can use in the GPS right so there's there's personality personification peepee I'm not gonna dance

peepee you're a monster you looked at me and now we're just gonna think I joined laughing over P P you did laugh over P P that's because you gave me that look that knowing look of big smile grin that you have

Yeah right and so you know this is this is basically that they expect come here you can you can personalise the computers to do basically any sort of personality that you want right this is it comes back to the I like the the British voice I like the Australian voice you know all that stuff you know and there have been studies that looked at like dominance like you you like a dominant voice for some things and not such a dominant voice for other things mm-hmm you know like for example like if it's asking you to do a task you want somebody that sounds dominant so that way as you perform the task you're more likely to sort of respect the computer as an authority but anyway I think that's a good segue for us to talk about you know what we're reviewing and Billy what are we reviewing today we are going to be doing the Amazon echo what is that yeah we we've mentioned it a couple times but what is the echo the Amazon echo is this really cool device that everybody seems to love it's a voice enabled wireless speaker and it's developed by Amazon it's actually on my wedding registry I'm really excited about this thing it's something that you own I know we have tons of fun on when we're over voice chat on games and things yeah so I do own one of these and I like it mm-hmm you know but we're reviewing it now so you'll kind of get get a sense of how I feel it and and I've been living with Alexa as she's so endearingly called around the house and that's one of the wake words basically so this this device is always listening and say what you want about the NSA but they've been great so far I'm just kidding that the NSA haven't really contact thank you a second it's okay no no I waiting for you well I was waiting for it okay swinging around but I mean okay so one of the things I wanted to actually ask about Alexa is is that I looked at all the reviews cuz I don't own one yeah I've looked at those views I've looked at the videos for it and things like that how is Alexa one of these actors you told your been talking about right because this is one of those topics that are really close to home about it yeah so Alexa kind of that's well first off it's a voice based interface so there is no screen there are a couple hard buttons on the thing there's a knob to adjust the volume there's a button to engage the microphone to listen to you and there's a mute button so the microphone can't hear you that's it everything else is done by voice let me throw this idea out here yeah you were just talking about a little bit earlier how the what we put in we get out of the voice right like you know you I get upset about talking to a person because I feel the need of not maybe getting something back right reciprocity reciprocity echo seems somebody will give you nothing but reciprocity yeah no it's great and I I really want to like reserve my judgment for the end of this review and I'm trying not to go into it yeah to see let's go through the review that let's go through the review so that we can talk about it more openly so people can make a clear decision so what's up first visibility of system status right I am I as a user know what's going on right uh right off the bat you know okay so one thing again with our reviews it does not necessarily mean the product is bad I mean the product is bad this is just us going through these industry standards mm-hmm you know in terms of interfaces so for this though visibility of system status as a user I know what's going on sometimes yes most of the time No so for example there's no display with this there's there's maybe a verbal display mm-hmm right like you know for that like you can ask Alexa what can I do right right that's a verbal display it's an audible display so you you actually process this information and you have to remember I'm jumping ahead but anyway so there is no there is no visibility because you can't see it okay yeah now now that's there are a few things that Alexa does or sorry echo that the Amazon echo does that and you'll you'll hear me refer to her it as Alexa or echo interchangeably but but one of the things it does do really well is that it lets you know when it's listening so when you say Alexa right or whatever the make word is you can't customize that wake word but we'll get to that later when you say Alexa you see a blue ring around her thing light up that and you know it points in the direction that it's hearing the voice oh cool so so you can you can tell whether it's listening to you or listening to the TV right so if I were to say Alexa and I'm watching TV and then somebody says something she's clearly listening to the TV and not me because it's too loud oh that's really interesting now there's also there's also it the ring also glows red when you're not connected to Wi-Fi so you know it kind of gives you that that sense or are when you when you give her a command and she can't interact with see this is this is really amazing to me by the way just that I'm referring to this device as her oh she is personified that's oh that's another point I didn't mention earlier is that computers refer to themselves as AI and me they they address themselves never thought about that right they address themselves as a being instead of a unit holy crap you're right anyway back on track here so so yes in terms of visibility there's not a whole lot to look at but what there is it does really well okay next a match between the system and the real world I as a user know what you're talking about yeah so I mean for the most part the-- like the echo does this pretty well right you can you can ask Alexa you know what it is that you want you know and she'll tell you the problem with this is that there's a and and you know asking in real world plain English is as simple you can get or real world I'm not sure if the Alexus were localized that'd be really interesting to look at well I mean Syria had a bunch of problem in Scotland because she couldn't get used to the brogue right I mean how is Alexa in the rest of the world I mean all the reviews I look for local I don't know that's that's interesting but yeah I mean it in terms of these interfaces yeah it does it does match up to what your your uh you'd expect right it's a social actor she'll respond to you in the way that a human would I can do all these things ok well I mean well speaking of all the things that you can do when the next one is user control and freedom oops oops let me out of here so like what we have with user control and freedom emergency exit right so this is a this is kind of like the undo or redo and you know for in in terms of this one it's it's okay you know so my main sort of issue with this one is like when well let me let me back up from the main issue so what you can do with her Oh is you can say okay in any situation whenever she starts talking again say Alexa stop or Alexa shut up or Alexa whatever I've heard a few times you yelling at Alexa yeah I mean how does she respond to that she's great she doesn't say anything she does exactly what you want right I asked her to do something she looked that idea of reciprocity I asked for and she gives it right and then that's the thing I wanted to tie a parka because three with user control and freedom the number three on it right the one of the things that I was thinking about here is is your interactions of show so so short so brief you know what I mean yeah so I mean look the thing here is that what what you're getting at is that you know you can always you can always get out of things that's alone that's the user control and freedom now when that breaks down is when and and you know she does a good job of like when you're controlling something she you get so for example if you're listening to a song you can say Alexa previous Alexa next and she'll play the previous song or the next song so it lets you out of a situation that lets you into the next situation it does a really good job there my biggest gripe with this is that when your volume is too high she doesn't cancel herself out well enough to hear you screaming at it so you're playing yeah so you're playing something and you're yelling at it Alexa stop Alexa stop Alexa stop you gotta yeah you were funny angry funny angry in that one that was funny yeah I get funny angry oh god I remember that that was great yeah that's my big right well that's fair I mean that's understandable okay so consistency and standards seems familiar and makes sense yeah but I mean what's the standard for voice sort of interfaces right there's I would say Siri off the top of my head the standard is Siri because Apple is kind of the first person who broke did it so there's yeah so there's there's Google and Siri and Cortana but she was a little late on the game right and so oh okay so we're talking about these other and that's another interesting thing too they named these Cortana Siri Google is the only one that doesn't well yeah but I think it's part of the reason is is that you see Google as an Oracle know who are making these things the people who are making I'm just gonna go off really quick here the people who are making these systems are the people who grew up with sci-fi science and that sort of stuff we grew up with artificial intelligence you know the doctor from Voyager what is the nature of your medical emergency it or KITT from Knight Rider how poor how or Cortana from halo halo you know we grew up with these things of course we humanize them because it makes us feel more fancy because we're never I'm never going to have the fully automated robot waifu that come to my door to clean my house like I dream about you know what's really really funny though that you mention all this stuff it these developers are like super into this stuff because if you say Alexa close the pod bay doors should be like I'm sorry I can't do that I mean cellphones came from Star Trek fact okay cellphones came for at least the idea I mean I'm I'm a little bit of a conspiracy theories but I always assumed that when we actually sit made Star Wars that was a thing but I mean these are things that we actually discuss these are things we actually talk about and I think that's why we kind of humanize them now I'm not an expert but that's the thing that's the other thing the one of the problems that separates it here is that actually the next one recognition rather than recall I know what I need to do here how much can Alexa help you with that so um flat out it sucks for this because so again you ask her Alexa what can you do and she'll give you I can do this this this this and this for more information see your Alexa manual mm-hmm okay well I it's it's hard for me to recall what options I have available when I we know when I haven't seen a list or something so let me just give you a little anecdote here so when I first bought the Amazon echo mm-hmm I was getting really into home automation and yeah we really need to do an automation at so next episode I think I think that's said and done so when you know when I when I got this I was into home automation and I got the echo so that I can start saying turn off the lights or turn on the TV change it to this channel what's the weather like today all these things right what's on my calendar right and and you know play my music and all this stuff and so I got the echo for all these reasons and now I use it for exactly - I use it to turn on and off the lights mm-hmm and I use it to play music occasionally but I have forgotten it has a ton of different skills that you can do with it you can order an uber you can listen to the news you can find out what xur is selling in destiny I hear you can even actually put like use Amazon on it and replace orders of things you need you could yet it's shouting lists that go to your app effectively as a - button mm-hmm but you know I I use it for two things I use it for playing music and I use it for turning out the lights hmm I mean but that's the thing about it when you first got her I remember when you first set her up and everything like that I was talking to her every every day every day and the thing about it is is that you were interacting with her right I was discovering what she could do what Easter Egg she had and a lot of these you know I got from like the reddit like oh there's an Easter Egg here right oh well say it and I you know they're really good about not really revealing what she says in response to it that's really nice you know see you have to go home and ask her these questions but I mean but that's one of the things with that uh with the next thing is that it can do so many thing so flexibility and efficiency of use right so this is a like I said it can do a lot of things right and we're here we're talking about allowing me to do more for less and so you know you can you can activate a skill right so the Alexa Amazon have these things called skills that you can enable to have or do things so like the uber Colleen Hoover is a skill now there is some flexible

you can download these apps and you can you can do a lot of different things with them but it's not very flexible you have to say it in the structure right so it will be like for example I'm not sure if this is the syntax so don't send me any messages about this I don't I don't want to get any more of those yeah but no like like for example you could say Alexa asked Ober to order me an uber right syntax that's the syntax right or this one I know for sure so there is a destiny app on there alright that allows you to to check out some of the status on destiny and and you know the the syntax for that is Alexa asked my ghost to ask sir what he's selling today I see what you say so it's not natural right you can't customize like Alexa what they're selling today you also can't like you there's not so much flexibility with your control either so that I have these lights they're the Philips hue they can change colors but you can't change the colors through voice you have to do that through the separate app you can you can't be like Alexa change my lights red now one of the questions is you mentioned that you have a bunch of these different skills than these apps that you can do right so do you have to download separate apps or is it all within the Alexa app it's all within the Alexa app but there's you have to enable enable them separately so it's not like they come default Li enabled you can't just be like ask Domino's to order me a pizza you would have to download you have the Alexa Domino's app you'd have to basically it's just in you basically just have to go into the system and say enable now okay I they did add it so where you can say you know Alexa enable this skill and she'll download the necessary software that she needs for that I tried doing it with The Daily Show the other night but I haven't tested it since she's just like check back in a couple minutes and I did and it wasn't done yet so I haven't checked back since I'll do that tonight though okay so one of the things also they do is aesthetics one of the things we talk about is aesthetics and minimalist design and to be honest with you I always felt like Amazon was really good at doing this sort of thing like with all their apps and their little creations like like I use the audible and everything else and I've seen pictures of Alexa unless it looks very sleek and simplistic you can't really get more much more simplistic than a tube than a tube mm-hmm that's got a new Apple Pro - you know what though in terms of like looks good yes it does works beautifully yeah I'm gonna I'm gonna give it like a like a not not a free pass on this one because sometimes she'll miss here you sometimes she won't hear you sometimes sure god this was so annoying so the other night I said Alexa turn off the lights haha I was going to bed and then she starts blasting music like from a band called lights all right well I mean I like these in lights but she's going through those toddler years right now I want you to turn off the lights now playing you're as cold as ice so no so she'd be alone in the dark she she she does do some of those things it's kind of annoying but you know and that kind of goes at the next point right which is the recognized diagnosis right yeah I know what went wrong and I can fix it now I don't know how the Alexis UI interface works but likes to stop that's it that's it that's all you get is that a good thing or a bad grade unless you can't hear you but I mean like who how many times okay how many times have you been listening to this podcast and I like Nick and Billy stop just kidding just kidding oh we should do that real quick gonna be like did you guys we gave you this is better active podcast interactive podcast oh my gosh this time no but how many times you wish you had that in interpersonal communication that'd be great yeah yeah no I mean like there's a lot of thing see the amazing okay so I mean that's really great then and then help and documentation now this thing seems to come with a manual have an app Bo yeah I'd read it on there the manuals in the amp uh-huh and you can ask for help too so you can you can say Alexa what can you do Alexa how do I do this or whatever and she'll she'll tell you now the downside to this is that you can't dig for specific information just by interfacing with the audio portion right you have to actually dig into the app and find out what you're looking for or looking at one of the things that I was reading cuz I read a lot of the reviews on it from Amazon just to get a kind of an idea of what the overall thought of it was and one of the thing one that I looked at the one-star reviews which are very which are few but they're still there one of the things is it's really hard to see if a particular part is messed up like is it the power cord is it the whole system is it just the speaker you know individual things it's really hard to troubleshoot individual things with Alexa now I don't own an Alexa and heaven forbid she ever dies on you yeah I mean like here's here's one thing is it's really annoying I wish it came with some like off offline capability right like sometimes it'll disconnect from the internet when internet shoddy or whatever and and you know I'll say Alexa are you connected to the Internet and she'll just go boom I can't understand you right now please try again later that's like okay that answers my question but I just want you to talk to me in a human voice talk to me say no I'm not connected the internet right now please try again in a couple minutes I'm sorry she's having trouble communicate this woman in your life is having trouble communicate all right so what's your thoughts on this overall and what are your thoughts on this thing you know what it's it's an interesting thing and we're at the cusp of a revolution when it comes to these voice interfaces I mean I think the most incredible part about the Amazon echo is that she's always listening and you know as creepy as that is you guys are always listening to oh so I don't really have a problem with it no but the interesting thing is that you can ask for anything at any time like I was watching Arrested Development the other night and I was like I asked my girlfriend I was like hey you know what who's Will Arnett married to in real life and she's like I don't remember and then I asked Alexa and she was able to answer it for me while I was watching Arrested Development okay it's pretty interesting and you know it's just these these uh these on-the-fly questions that you have that you would ask Google right like yeah my phone and and she does a great job or Siri if you have Apple now the the passive presence I think is where this this thing shines and like I said there's gonna be a revolution soon to where you can just talk in your house and your house will understand what you want it's crazy what it turns imagine how crazy property values gonna give up when you actually look back but I mean you know I I'm gonna reserve some judgment right now and we're still in the infancy so there's a lot of bugs that it has to work out but you know for what it is it's pretty pretty interesting and see my overall thought about it it's it's a cool concept and I'm gonna be the weird one in this situation and say it's a niche it's a right it's a little thing it's not I have my phone it's like I'm getting an extra thing to do another thing I feel like I would just be stacking it upon it now I don't own it I don't own one do you have one on the registry because it's a gimmick it's cool but and if it was I might thank God it's like 100 bucks because anything more than a hundred bucks I don't think I would ever bother with it it's like 180 just you know no that's a hundred bucks right now it was a hundred bucks for prime Dave oh really yeah it's back up anyway and don't send us emails about the price either we don't I know we check later but I mean like I feel that it gets like it's cool but it's a little gimmicky I think I'm waiting for her situation or maybe a cellphone becomes all in all your phone love with Scarlett Johansson's voice I've already have let's be honest you sir sorry I love you yeah so this is the part of the show where we take the questions from you guys our listeners and if you want to be featured on the show please please please send us in your questions we've got some great ones so far we're all over the social medias you can find us at human factors cast go ahead and comment on our SoundCloud or send us an email human factors cast at gmail Billy what's our question today our question today comes from let's see here Chris in Utah sent us an email all right Chris writes why our car UI so bad now I don't know cuz I don't own a smart car well you don't okay so I don't have the little computer interface or anything like that well remember we were talking about other interfaces today right in an interface isn't necessarily a smart interface we're talking about like the knob okay so like even the knobs and little flashy lights and the little pictogram that show up in my car does feel a little dated when I say pictograms yeah I mean well that's a whole nother show is that we are we're just generating show ideas today seriously this should have an event meeting but go on anyway so yeah no I mean just because like why are these you eyes well no bad you know it you know I don't think it's necessarily that I guess it depends on your experience right so although every car that I've been behind has had a bad UI so i get i get where chris is coming from here okay okay i mean you know they're really confusing even though they try to simplify things and to be honest Chris I don't have an answer for you I mean I would I would suspect mhm this is what I would suspect I would suspect that these car dealerships often are trying to sort of or not the dealerships I'm sorry the manufacturers they have obviously these technical components that they have to meet right like they have to do X Y & Z as a requirement right this car has to have bluetooth this car has to have like automatic shifting this car has to have manual shifting in the same car my car has that it's really weird how do these things interact together well we're gonna leave that up to our UI designers and our UX designers yeah so what it comes down to is that I get a UI UX designer in here we do you want you know what it comes down to though is is that there are these technical requirements that drive how the user interfaces have to interact with them right so like I don't think car interfaces are necessarily bad right when you think about I mean I I don't understand the difficulty of a car interface I mean you know I maybe it's because I'm left-handed and everything because I'm in the driver's seat everything is on my right side if you're in the US oh that's true I mean but I can't speak for those other places right but I mean like I understand what everything says in my car and everything that's going on you know what I mean like I understand what the blinking light means I understand what the little warning signals me I understand what all the knobs on my thing does I can easily access them but that's because I grew up around them I've been driving for 15 16 plus years now let me ask you though like does it always work the way you wanted to so let me just give you an example okay so in my car I have a very fancy 2015 Toyota Corolla Oh fancy I know what human practitioners roll around all high-quality rolling in the podcast oh so okay hold up let's reel it in talk about this example mmm so I have this sort of wheel on my steering wheel that is like four buttons that's up down left and right and a center button for enter and when I want to advance to the next track you would expect that the right button would advance the track would you not because that's a standard you hit right for next left for back yeah okay okay - yeah to advance to the next track I have to hit up right seeks so right you like fast-forward through whatever you're listening now that makes sense but it's like why I don't what that but what why up for next am I not down like I would understand down a little bit better than up because down if you're going down a list right the next one on the list right that at least I can get but why up so I get I get Chris's gripe here with car you eyes answer is I don't know but for now that's gotta be the end of the show I know it's a little bit shorter one today but next week we'll have a lot to talk about with automation oh did you just get something no I just I'm trying to figure out what you're talking about wouldn't that be like that weird thing like um ergonomics we'll have a whole nother show on ergonomics yeah generating ideas anyway that's it for today I've been your host Nick Rome you can find me at slash Nick roam Billy Hall where can they find you you can find me on Twitter at comstar Blair until next time