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Niess, Jasmin; Diefenbach, Sarah; Platz, Axel (2018): Moving Beyond Assistance: Psychological Qualities of Digital Companions. In: Nordichi'18: Proceedings of the 10Th Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction: pp. 916-921
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Abstract

Digital assistant technologies are becoming increasingly common at home. These technologies also hold high potential through supporting individuals at work. However, it remains a challenge for research to understand which psychological features should be embodied by digital assistant technologies so that they can become meaningful everyday companions and contribute to user's wellbeing. In this work, we conducted a focus group, a survey and an expert workshop to investigate user perceptions of digital assistants and explore how interactive technologies can be perceived as companions. We found that the design space of digital companions can be described as a spectrum between passive and active assistance. Further, users reported that assistant technologies can assume different roles (e.g. friend, advisor) connected to the task performed. Our findings contribute initial insights regarding psychological qualities of digital companions and highlight a number of important questions for future research.