Why kids don’t trust Siri or Alexa

Tanya Basu for MIT Technology Review:

One day, Judith Danovitch overheard her son interrogating Siri on the family’s iPad.

“What color shirt am I wearing?” the then four-year-old asked.

Danovitch, a researcher at the University of Louisville, says he was testing the boundaries of Siri’s knowledge — something that, her research finds, often happens when kids get to be about that age. And the more studies she and others in the field conduct, the more robust the behavior appears.

Turns out kids overwhelmingly trust a teacher — even if the teacher is wrong. That makes sense: they know their teacher, and that teacher has developed a strong relationship with them. But the kids preferred their peers over the internet, too, even though they knew their friends had roughly the same amount of knowledge as they did.

Danovitch’s theory as to why kids behave this way is that the idea of voice assistants — and by extension, the internet — is amorphous and hard to grasp. If you’re a child who thinks there’s a tiny woman who lives in the kitchen called Alexa (as Danovitch says her son did), you’re trying to wrap your head not only around how this thing works but what its knowledge base is in the first place. Trusting another person, on the other hand, is hardwired into our brains.

MacDailyNews Take: There’s hope for humanity yet!


  1. I work in a high school in a behavioral/discipline area, and my experience in the last 10 years is that the latest freshman and sophomores have in many cases seem never been contradicted by ANYONE.

    Their assumption is: I know more than Siri or ANYONE.

    Life will be hard for them.

    1. I would tend to agree with you, but the ever-rising trend of helicopter-parenting over the past couple of decades, leads me to conclude the situation is only getting worse. These people won’t have to personally deal with life’s harsh realities until their parents die… and then they’ll be hit with one of the harshest of life’s realities.

    2. As a former black marketer who managed a ship shape shop full of famous people on TV and in real life which can be proven by a clip on YouTube and my own ginormously black ego, I have lived life knowing that I know more than Siri, Alexa and Godde himheritransself.

      This has kept me in good stead with the universe and I know I am a black marketer and emailer of the highest quality and caliber. There are none who take kids to little league better than me.

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