The New Skeuomorphism is in Your Voice Assistant

Bert Brautigam,, May 05, 2017
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Our new word for the day is "Skeuomorphism", which means "using real world references and metaphors on interfaces to enhance their comprehensibility." For example, "A skeuomorphic button looks like a physical switch, a skeuomorphic canvas can have a wood texture." The point of this post is to examine the concept as it relates to audio input devices, such as your voice assistant. Currently, these resemble human voices - they have gender, they make jokes, they express emption. None of these is core to the function of the voice, however. The suggestion is that, as we become used to voice assistants, we will be more inclined to let them be featureless automatons.
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