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Does humanizing virtual assistants undermine consumer privacy?

January 13, 2020

A university study finds people increasingly attributing lifelike qualities to virtual assistants and warns this may cause them to reveal more personal information to the companies that use them than they otherwise would.

“These agents are data gathering tools that companies are using to sell us stuff,” said Edward Lank, a professor at the University of Waterloo’s David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science, in a statement. “People need to reflect a little to see if they are formulating impressions of these agents rather than seeing them as just a piece of technology and trusting them in ways based on these impressions.”

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