Affective computingInteresting Washington Post article: Human Responses to Technology Scrutinized. Summarizes various affective technology products and research, like Amtrak's computerized phone operator, "Julie," or virtual teachers that can detect and adapt to waning student interest. Cliff Nass discusses subtle techniques such as flattery that computer interfaces can employ to ingratiate themselves to their users (um, look at me with the anthropomorphization!): according to him, people prefer a spellchecker that occasionally congratulates them on getting a tough word right. (God help my computer if Clippit ever praised my spelling!)
Caterina Fake, over at misbehaving.net, highlighted this quote from the article:
A German carmaker recalled an automobile with a computerized female voice issuing navigation information -- because many men refused to take directions from "a woman."saying it's "interesting that a super-compressed identity signifier such as a gendered voice can trigger such a strong response." Those men deserve to get lost.