Computer Has Voice, Personality, and Political Potential

I guess it’s just not enough to give your computer a voice like IBM’s Watson; he/she also needs a personality.  In other words, here is the latest update on this voice-enhancing endeavor.  “Machines are listening, understanding, and speaking, and not just computers and smartphones.  Voices have been added to a wide range of everyday objects like cars and toys, as well a household information “appliances” like the home-companion robots Pepper and Jobo, and Alexa, the voice of the Amazon Echo speaker device.”

Now here comes the scary part.  One software firm in Israel is now considering developing a “conversational character,” an avatar that could be deployed on a social media platform during a political campaign.  For example, a plausible-sounding Ted Cruz or Donald Trump could articulate the candidate’s positions on any possible subject.  What a concept!  Just prerecord your responses to any burning issues on the campaign trail and let your avatar do the rest.  No more flip-flopping, or nuancing on issues as the campaign develops.  Unfortunately, I think that would be the part I would miss the most.

The developers of this software claim that this social media platform will enable the audience to have an interactive conversation with the candidate.  A real virtual interactive conversation?  Is that what we really want in terms of understanding the political positions of our candidates?  Maybe that is what is actually happening already.

Ray Myers

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