Wired for Speech: How Voice Activates and Advances the Human-Computer Relationship

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Interfaces that talk and listen are populating computers, cars, call centers, and even home appliances and toys, but voice interfaces invariably frustrate rather than help. In Wired for Speech, Clifford Nass and Scott Brave reveal how interactive voice technologies can readily and effectively tap into the automatic responses all speech -- whether from human or machine -- evokes. Wired for
Speech demonstrates that people are "voice-activated": we respond to voice technologies as we respond to actual people and behave as we would in any social situation. By leveraging this powerful finding, voice interfaces can truly emerge as the next frontier for efficient, user-friendly technology.Wired for Speech presents new theories and experiments and applies them to critical issues concerning how people interact with technology-based voices. It considers how people respond to a female voice in e-commerce (does stereotyping matter?), how a car's voice can promote safer driving (are "happy" cars better cars?), whether synthetic voices have personality and emotion (is sounding like a person always good?), whether an automated call center should apologize when it cannot understand a spoken request
("To Err is Interface; To Blame, Complex"), and much more. Nass and Brave's deep understanding of both social science and design, drawn from ten years of research at
Nass's Stanford laboratory, produces results that often challenge conventional wisdom and common design practices. These insights will help designers and marketers build better interfaces, scientists construct better theories, and everyone gain better understandings of the future of the machines that speak with us.

The MIT Press

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Until recently, interfaces that talk and listen were found only in literature, comics, and film. Speech is now being used to interact with electronic systems in cars, telephone switchboards, home appliances, toys, word processors, and commercial kiosks to free people from the ubiquitous computing universe of windows, icons, menus, keypads, and pointers. Drawing on a decade of research collaboration between industry and Stanford University's CHIMe (Communication Between Humans and Interactive Media) Lab, Nass (communication, Stanford Univ.; The Media Equation) and postdoctoral scholar Brave (communication, Stanford Univ.) explore the social and technological challenge of designing interactive voice technologies that mimic human speech communication, both verbal and nonverbal. Practical psychological and behavioral questions are explored from both a research and an interface design standpoint, and subjects include gender, sex, personality, accents, race, ethnicity, emotion, facial cues, realism, and error rates. Balancing stylistically between a scholarly review of a hot disciplinary topic and a Kurzweil-like future technology tome, this exploration of the promise and difficulty of embedding speech, the most social of all communications, speech, into everyday technologies will be best appreciated by interface designers, scientists, scholars, and more sophisticated readers of popular science. For larger public and academic libraries.-James A. Buczynski, Seneca Coll. of Applied Arts & Technology, Toronto Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262640657
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 4/30/2007
  • Edition description: ANN
  • Pages: 319
  • Sales rank: 506,567
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Clifford Nass is Professor, Department of Communication, and Codirector, Kozmetsky
Global Collaboratory, at Stanford University. He is the author of The Media
Equation: How People Treat Computers, Television, and New Media Like Real People and

Scott Brave is Chief Technology Officer at Baynote, Inc.

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Table of Contents

1 Wired for speech : activating the human-computer relationship 1
2 Gender of voices : making interfaces male or female 9
3 Gender stereotyping of voices : sex is everywhere 19
4 Personality of voices : similars attract 33
5 Personality of voices and words : multiple personalities are dangerous 47
6 Accents, race, and ethnicity : it's who you are, not what you look like 61
7 User emotion and voice emotion : talking cars should know their drivers 73
8 Voice and content emotions : why voice interfaces need acting lessons 85
9 When are many voices better than one? : people differentiate synthetic voices 97
10 Should voice interfaces say "I"? : recorded and synthetic voice interfaces' claims to humanity 113
11 Synthetic versus recorded voices and faces : don't look the look if you can't talk the talk 125
12 Mixing synthetic and recorded voices : when "better" is worse 143
13 Communication contexts : the effects of type of input on user behaviors and attitudes 157
14 Misrecognition : to err is interface; to blame, complex 171
15 Conclusion : from listening to and talking at to speaking with 183
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