Sneak loves self-service checkouts. They remove the need for human interaction and there’s something vaguely futuristic about the whole process.
However, one thing he can do without is the horrible AI voice of the robotic ‘woman’ who barks instructions, not least her most reviled phrase: ‘Unexpected item in bagging area.'
This refrain is the scourge of shoppers everywhere, and no doubt the workers in supermarkets who have to hear the phrase over and over and over again, which can't be conducive to a positive mental state.
Indeed Sneak once stood in a queue in Tesco when, quite by chance, five or six machines all said the phrase at the same time. The effect of surround-sound checkouts voicing their disapproval of shoppers' checkout styles was unnerving to say the least.
The phrase makes no sense either. The items the robotic checkout girl claims are 'unexpected' are often nothing more than a loaf of bread or a pint of milk, which are hardly unexpected for a supermarket.
Furthermore, why is the till commenting on the surprise of Sneak’s shopping choices anyway? 47 Pot Noodles is a perfectly acceptable shopping spree, is it not?
In light of all this, Sneak is delighted to read that Tesco is doing away with the hated phrase and even replacing the woman’s voice with the more plummy sounds of a, well, man.
The helpful folk at Tesco have even made a video showing the old, hated phrases, and the new, more soothing, phrases and how they will sound, which you can listen to below.
The change to more friendly and welcoming sounds and sayings raises an interesting point: as more electronic assistants enter our lives, the tone of voice, phrases and delivery styles must become more natural (and tolerable).
Otherwise shoppers will start to shun those supermarkets they don't enjoy for those they do, perhaps based on nothing more than the quality of the AI's personality.
Hmm, Sneak didn't mean to get so deep there. You could say it was a case of unexpected intellect in the blogging area.
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