A new industry report focusing on voice-activated systems such as Amazon Echo (voiced by Alexa) and Google Home finds that many users are forming emotional attachments to the technology.
“Over a third (37 percent) of regular voice technology users say that they love their voice assistant so much that they wish it were a real person,” the researchers write.
And a surprising number of people are taking those feelings to the next base.
More than a quarter of regular voice technology users say they have had a sexual fantasy about their voice assistant, the report added.
Needless to say, the majority of these regular voice technology users are young, male and affluent.
Relationship experts say they are not surprised and it is not because people are really sad. It is just that voice-activated virtual assistants are not human, so they’re not giving us any of the difficulties of a human relationship.
Other people are complicated and each has their own issues. Personal assistants do what they are told and focus on your needs, while a partner has expectations.
One brain care specialist told Moneyish that sex is one of our basic human needs, so it makes sense that having the transference of positive feelings for this virtual relationship can lead to sexual fantasies.
Dr. David Greenfield, the founder of The Center for Internet and Technology Addiction, said that even though the voice technology on Google Home or Amazon Echo is really just an algorithm, it’s projecting human qualities. These devices are designed to offer back human-like responses, so that encourages the illusion or delusion that it’s a human being.