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The Week That Was: Consumer Technology (10/08/18)

10th August 2018

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Apple denies reports that Siri is listening to conversations
Apple has hit back at claims that its voice assistant Siri is recording conversations without user permission. In a reply to US lawmakers issued late last night, Apple said that its iPhones require users to give microphone access to Siri and third-party apps, with it being clearly stated if an app is listening at any time. This is interesting to note given that consumer data privacy has been hot in the media recently and something that we are going to keep on our radar.

App filters are causing a rise in body dysmorphic disorders
The rise of picture-editing technology in apps is increasingly causing mental health problems because it creates unrealistic expectations of how people should look, researchers have warned. Researchers from the Boston Medical Centre (BMC) claim the filters popularised by Instagram and others can prompt users to “lose touch with reality.” Many filters are designed to enhance the size of the user’s eyes, smooth and lighten skin and contour faces to appear slimmer, and swiftly become one of Snapchat’s most popular features following their introduction in September 2015. This shows clear evidence of the impact that technology is having on young people’s self-esteem and we believe that more lengths need to be taken by app developers in regards to this.

Online daters tend to seek partners more attractive than themselves
An in-depth study has found that online daters tend to send messages to people more attractive than themselves in an effort to snag a more desirable partner. Researchers from the University of Michigan found that the majority of dating-app users send messages to matches who are on average 25% more attractive than they are. A user’s desirability is typically determined by an algorithm that analyses how many messages users receive. This is noteworthy as it illustrates the rising impact that technology is having on beauty standards.

Emoji couples to come in 55 different genders and skin shades
By the first quarter of 2019, iPhone users should be able to choose from a range of 55 emoji couples with different skin shades and gender combos. It’s interesting to see Apple keeping on top of equality and ensuring that they’re beloved emoji’s are all inclusive.

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