Alexa turns 4 years old today – but many of us still don’t trust it, claims Accenture

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Today is Alexa’s fourth birthday and the impact of voice-controlled devices is only growing as they pop-up in more and more of our homes.

Birthdays are a time for reflection, but also a moment to look to the future. So what will the future hold for voice assistants? A recent survey from Accenture found that, despite increasing adoption of the technology, there are still significant barriers:

  • 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).
  • More than one in five admit to leaving the room or lowering their voice to make sure their device can’t spy on them
  • Nearly half of people (48 per cent) believe the technology is always listening – even when they’ve not been given a command.

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 skills, which is barely the tip of the iceberg when some devices have over 45,000 to choose from.

Says Emma Kendrew, Artificial Intelligence Lead for Accenture:

“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 misconceptions out there about how these voice assistants work.”

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New Alexa skill allows you to donate to British Heart Foundation

Meanwhile, Amazon Echo users can now donate their unwanted old furniture and electrical items to the British Heart Foundation using a new Alexa skill.

The charity claims to be the first in the world to use the smart speaker to enable people to arrange a collection for their donations, as well as making donations.

It’s hoped that using Alexa to make donations will help fund over £100 million a year for pioneering research into heart and circulatory conditions.

All users have to say to donate is “Alexa, ask British Heart Foundation to collect my furniture or “Alexa, open British Heart Foundation and donate money.”

Chris Price