Smart’s Head of Innovation, speaks at the Nobel Prize Summit

Smart helps lead the global conversation on technology, persuasion and deception

By

Smart

13/6/2023

  • Influencing more ethical and transparent practices within the technology industry
  • Computers, Privacy and Data Protection 2023 conference

The Nobel Prize Summit this year was at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington DC. Our very own Head of Innovation, Dr. Harry Brignull, gave a presentation about deceptive design at a solutions session, hosted by Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue and the Electronic Privacy Information Center, and the Minderoo Centre for Technology and Democracy, University of Cambridge.

During the same week, Harry also gave a presentation at CPDP2023 (Computers, Privacy and Data Protection) for a workshop titled “Deceptive Design In Online Interfaces And System Architecture: Questions For EU Law”.  Here is an excerpt from Harry’s speech at CPDP:

“Voice assistants are going to be a sort of glue that connects together a lot of this new technology for consumers. I know they’ve been around for years – we’ve all got one of those hockey puck devices gathering dust somewhere at home – but so far they’ve been pretty dumb. That’s going to change. You’re going to have much better AI in them, and they will be an interface to everything else – to your home lighting, security, entertainment systems, and so on.
And the thing about these voice assistants is that they are much less neutral than web browsers. If you open up Firefox or Safari, you can access the entire web. The purpose is to put many businesses at your fingertips. Similarly, the job of a search engine is to connect you with those businesses and make some ad revenue along the way. It’s a very open market model.
With a voice assistant, if you ask a question, you usually want one good answer. Because voice is slow. It takes time to listen to the response. So you put your trust in it, and that’s abusable – because instead of giving the user options, the business probably will pick the answer that profits them most and it’ll respond with that.
So to summarise – voice assistants are going to get a lot more useful to consumers soon. They won't have to buy any new hardware. And they are not neutral technology – they very much lend themselves to a walled garden and that’s worrying.”

Smart is proud to be part of the global conversation about technology, persuasion and deception. By shedding light on the pitfalls of emerging technologies, we hope to influence the tech industry towards more ethical and transparent practices for the benefit of all users.

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Static and dynamic content editing

Static and dynamic content editing

Static and dynamic content editing

Static and dynamic content editing

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FOOTNOTES
CONTRIBUTORS

Smart’s Head of Innovation, speaks at the Nobel Prize Summit

Smart helps lead the global conversation on technology, persuasion and deception

  • Influencing more ethical and transparent practices within the technology industry
  • Computers, Privacy and Data Protection 2023 conference

The Nobel Prize Summit this year was at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington DC. Our very own Head of Innovation, Dr. Harry Brignull, gave a presentation about deceptive design at a solutions session, hosted by Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue and the Electronic Privacy Information Center, and the Minderoo Centre for Technology and Democracy, University of Cambridge.

During the same week, Harry also gave a presentation at CPDP2023 (Computers, Privacy and Data Protection) for a workshop titled “Deceptive Design In Online Interfaces And System Architecture: Questions For EU Law”.  Here is an excerpt from Harry’s speech at CPDP:

“Voice assistants are going to be a sort of glue that connects together a lot of this new technology for consumers. I know they’ve been around for years – we’ve all got one of those hockey puck devices gathering dust somewhere at home – but so far they’ve been pretty dumb. That’s going to change. You’re going to have much better AI in them, and they will be an interface to everything else – to your home lighting, security, entertainment systems, and so on.
And the thing about these voice assistants is that they are much less neutral than web browsers. If you open up Firefox or Safari, you can access the entire web. The purpose is to put many businesses at your fingertips. Similarly, the job of a search engine is to connect you with those businesses and make some ad revenue along the way. It’s a very open market model.
With a voice assistant, if you ask a question, you usually want one good answer. Because voice is slow. It takes time to listen to the response. So you put your trust in it, and that’s abusable – because instead of giving the user options, the business probably will pick the answer that profits them most and it’ll respond with that.
So to summarise – voice assistants are going to get a lot more useful to consumers soon. They won't have to buy any new hardware. And they are not neutral technology – they very much lend themselves to a walled garden and that’s worrying.”

Smart is proud to be part of the global conversation about technology, persuasion and deception. By shedding light on the pitfalls of emerging technologies, we hope to influence the tech industry towards more ethical and transparent practices for the benefit of all users.

About Smart

Smart is a global savings and investments technology platform provider. Its mission is to transform retirement, savings and financial wellbeing around the world.

Smart partners with governments and financial institutions (including insurers, asset managers, banks, financial advisers) to deliver retirement savings and income solutions that are digital, bespoke and cost efficient. In addition to the UK, Smart is operating in the USA, Europe, Australia and the Middle East with more than a million savers entrusting over £4 billion in assets on the platform. 

Smart supports its clients with a 750 strong global team.

Aquiline Capital Partners, Legal & General, Fidelity International Strategic Ventures, J.P. Morgan, the Link Group, Barclays, Natixis Investment Managers, DWS Group and Chrysalis Investments are all investors in Smart.

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