May I Interrupt? Diverging Opinions on Proactive Smart Speakers

Leon Reicherts, N Zargham, M Bonfert, Yvonne Rogers, R Malaka
in CUI '21: CUI 2021 - 3rd Conference on Conversational User Interfaces, Conference paper (text), New York, NY, USA


Although smart speakers support increasingly complex multi-turn dialogues, they still play a mostly reactive role, responding to user's questions or requests. With rapid technological advances, they are becoming more capable of initiating conversations by themselves. However, before developing such proactive features, it is important to understand how people perceive different types of agent-initiated interactions. We conducted an online survey in which participants () rated 8 scenarios around proactive smart speakers on different aspects. Despite some controversy around proactive systems, we found that participants' ratings were surprisingly positive. However, they also commented on potential issues around user privacy and agency as well as undesirable interference with ongoing (social) activities. We discuss these findings and their implications for future avenues of research on proactive smart speakers.