Finding new ways to talk

Two: How people are reconnecting without their phones

Hi, you’re reading Wakeword, a newsletter all about the obscure bit where the news, voice-controlled devices and artificial intelligence collide.

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A quick one this week.

I loved this Kotaku article about how people are using video game voice chat to keep in touch with each other instead of picking up the phone.

Nobody wants to be alone, without anyone to confide in or commiserate with. Another truth is that a lot of people are unlikely to immediately speed-dial their college roommate to ask for relationship advice or talk through their workplace troubles when life gets thorny—especially men, as researchers interviewed by Kotaku attested. It’s a little heartwarming, then, that the men we spoke to said they rely on online games and voice chat to achieve the interpersonal closeness that can feel contrived or heavy-handed in a prearranged phone call.

Maybe there is hope for us all in the great digital world we’re speeding towards.


🔔 Video doorbells still creepy - now the police are giving them away and demanding footage in return. Of crimes, you’d assume, not to track when an ice cream van stops on your street. Not sure if this could work in the UK, would you have to be set up as a CCTV operator etc?

🤑 My eyes lit up when I saw a New York Times story about Google making billions from Google News platform - but the figures aren’t quite what they’re cracked up to be.

📱 Black Mirror’s back. Everyone got very excited, even if the episodes weren’t quite up there with San Junipero. The last of the three is all about a Miley Cyrus-voiced smart speaker with a split personality. Slate breaks it down, which is good because I’ve not finished watching it yet.

Living in the FUTURE

In this week’s episode of living in the future, here’s the cable that you use to plug in your smart doorbell to the mains power because your house doesn’t have the right adapter 🙃 (Image: Ninety7)

One more thing

The Washington Post got TikTok and it’s glorious.

BYE <3