How Alexa, Siri Help Combat Loneliness, Make Disabled Independent?

ED Times
3 min readDec 15, 2022

By Palak Dogra -

The internet’s birth dates back to 1983 and since then, it has grown manifold. Then, little did we know that in the upcoming years, technology and the internet will be developed so much that technological devices would help us mentally and physically as well.

Smart devices like Siri and Alexa are quite popular. New research by Ofcom has revealed that these devices have helped people combat loneliness and make the disabled more independent. Ofcom conducted a research where they included 100 smart device users and 15 people who didn’t own smart devices such as Alexa or Siri.

Data Of Smart Speaker Users

After the research revealed that for numerous users, these devices acted as their “companions”. They confessed that the devices have helped them in combating loneliness as they had someone to talk with.

It was also revealed that in the UK, smart speaker users spiked from 22% in 2020 to 39% in 2022. In fact, disabled users revealed that these devices made them feel independent, and helped them manage and improve their lives and conditions.

Compared to the owners of smart speaker users, those who didn’t own these devices see them as “luxurious products” or didn’t realise the use of these devices. Many of them feel insecure about using these devices as they fear being “spied on” as these devices could listen to them.

What Do People Say?

A user said, “It really is the difference between maintaining independence around the house… my carers don’t have to keep getting up every five minutes. Like this evening, I was able to just ask it to put these lights on. Years ago, before I had that facility… I would have had to ask people to do things manually.”

Another physically disabled user said that the smart speaker let him use the phone like the abled person with 10 fingers uses. He said, “(The devices) have given me a lot of value and a lot of opportunities to demonstrate that I’m a quality man and I’m a man of integrity.”

Smart speakers can be connected to WIFI or any other source of internet. Whenever the users wish to use these products, they have to say the wake word of the device they are using. For example, Alexa owners say “Alexa”, Siri owners say “Hey Siri”, and Google owners say “Ok Google”.

These devices can understand what the user says and acts accordingly. They can also store the account information of the user so that they can purchase items with just a few commands.

Their availability has changed the way users used to interact with technology and have changed people’s lives for the good.

Originally published at https://edtimes.in on December 15, 2022.

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