Voice Assistant technologies powered by AI

By KatalinFeherFulbrighter

My name is Olya Kudina and I’m an Assistant Professor in the Ethicist and Philosophy of Technology in the TPM faculty here at TU Delft. In my work, I focus on the dynamic interaction between values and technologies. I help to analyze and establish technology development with ethical reflection and cultural sensitivity as integral counterparts. To do this, I draw on my expertise in empirical philosophy and combine ethics, design and governance in helping to develop technologies that are adaptable to the changing world.

Recently, I’ve been focusing on how Voice Assistant technologies powered by AI change the way we talk, interact and live. Most often, we do not think about voice assistance in our smartphones (e.g. Siri) or in our homes in the shape of smart speakers (e.g. Alexa or Google Home) as doing something behind our backs, doing something other than what they were designed to do. I’m referring to how the specific manner of interaction that they are projecting onto us implicitly reshapes our norms of communication, courtesy, appropriate responses, and values (e.g. gender roles). To give an example what I have in mind, you can view this short video. 

Currently, I am exploring the introduction of AI in the healthcare for decision-support. How can AI help to promote the values of informed judgement and choice, while balancing the cognitive overload of patients and physicians? What are the hidden (moral) costs of integrating AI into the hospital infrastructure? I am relying on the approaches of technological mediation, value change and the sociotechnical systems to explore the evolving moral landscape of AI-enhanced healthcare. With this, I see an intrinsic intertwinement of ethics and design – ethics as accompanying the design process in framing the problem and devising the solutions considering multiple users in specific sociocultural settings. The model of ethics-as-accompaniment contributes to designing technologies that both embody the values we collectively want to promote and maintain an open outlook in interaction with the dynamic environment. You can see an example of my current work in the recent publication here.

Should you wish to learn more about my work and past projects, visit my website.