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Donegal people have the worst accent in Ireland for robot assistants

Almost half of the people of Donegal find that they are seldom understood

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Donegal accent is difficult  for computer robot assistants to understand

Donegal people have the worst accent in Ireland for robot assistants such as Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant to understand.

In a new survey by Pure Telecom, around half the people of Donegal, 39%,  are only occasionally, or never, understood by their virtual assistant. 

The survey of over 1,000 people found that Irish accents are baffling computerised assistants. The failure to understand accents and lingo is the top Irish complaint about virtual assistants.

People from Donegal (39%), Clare (36%) and Kerry (33%) are only occasionally, or never, understood by their digital companions.

The online research, carried out by Censuswide on behalf of Pure Telecom, surveyed 1,005 adults on the prevalence, usefulness, benefits and drawbacks of digital assistants in Ireland.

The top grievance when it comes to using virtual assistants, according to Irish users, is getting the software to understand the Irish brogue. Some 32% cite the programmes’ inability to understand their accent and way of speaking as a significant drawback of using virtual assistants.

Those living in Donegal experience the most difficulties, with 39% of users saying they are never, or only occasionally, understood by their chosen virtual assistant software. That is followed by Clare (36%) and Kerry (33%).

In contrast, other counties experience far fewer issues. The best-spoken in the country, according to robots, live in Laois, with 47% claiming to ‘always’ be understood by their assistant. That is followed by Roscommon and Carlow (39%); and Limerick (35%).

Other issues for Irish users revolve around fears of constantly being listened to, with 28% worried about personal privacy. On the other hand, the biggest identified benefits of using the programmes include their availability at any time (36%); facilitating hands-free use of devices (30%); and being entertaining to use (25%).

The vast majority (84%) of Irish people have used a digital assistant. Through their use of virtual assistants, 28% of users feel more informed, while 25% say they are more organised. Negative effects, however, include becoming lazier (12%) and more anti-social (7%).

Commenting on the findings, Paul Connell, CEO, Pure Telecom, said: “As the survey shows, digital assistants are becoming more and more commonplace in our daily lives. While Irish people may have issues being understood by their assistant, their always-on availability has driven widespread use for tasks like streaming music and organising calendars.

“Having a smooth and reliable internet connection is a must in order to enjoy the full benefits and fast responses of a digital assistant. Our survey showed that 59% of us use three or more internet-connected devices on a daily basis, highlighting our increasing reliance on fast broadband speeds.

“At Pure Telecom, we understand the enormous part fast internet connection plays in people’s lives. We strive to offer the fastest speeds and most reliable connection for each individual customer, while also working with our partners to increase our coverage across the country in both urban and rural locations.”