Proceedings of EVA London 2019 (EVA 2019)
Electronic Visualisation and the Arts
8 - 11 July 2019
Voice user interfaces, Virtual assistant, Voice theory, Agentive technology, Ubiquitous computing, Ambient Intelligence, Feminised voice, Speech, Language, Voice, Smart home, Capitalism, Speech theory, Artificial Intelligence
Speech has a long history as an intra-human medium of communication, so far as to be considered one of the defining characteristics of the category. How does the use of speech as an interface with technology unsettles existing relations to speech and to what is understood as human? Through a research method that is both theoretical but also derived through my cohabitation with Siri, Alexa and Google assistant the text explores the politics, poetics and philosophies, as well as ways of relating to voice interfaces (VI). This paper is an excerpt of a much longer essay with the same title. The first section, investigates the ways voice interfaces frame speech through the algorithmic principles in use, as well as questioning whose voices and culture such entities are more likely to understand. The second section questions the framework of the virtual assistant in relation to feminised voices and feminised labour. The last chapter considers voice interfaces as apparatuses and problematises their role within the current socio-political capitalist structures.