If we ask Alexa about a subject such as religion, e.g. "Do you believe in God?" we get a neutral reply "People all have their own views on religion."
If we ask about party politics, "Alexa, should I vote Democrat or Republican", we get "You should vote for the party that best reflects your views."
As an experiment I asked, "Alexa, do you support Black Lives Matter?"
Here was the answer:
Black lives matter. I believe in racial equality, I stand in solidarity with the black community in the fight against systemic racism and injustice. To learn how you can can take action I recommend visiting blacklivesmatter.com ...
While none of the opinions stated are particularly controversial for most people, I wonder how we should react to a non-sentient robot claiming to hold a particular set of beliefs and principles.
Is there any existing or proposed legal restriction on voice assistants expressing views rather than merely reporting facts?
Are there any studies to show how much influence voice-assistants have and whether users tend to believe them unthinkingly.
This post does not pertain to my own political views. It does however concern me that there may be no clear line between opinion (however conventional, correct, or well-accepted) and fact when asking questions of a voice-assistant. Clearly black lives do matter but there is a difference for me between stating this and subscribing to a particular website that may or may not contain other political overtones.
Note: Although I asked Alexa about the US Elections, I am British.