In November 2014 Amazon rolled out a personal assistant for you. Her name is Alexa, and she’s not someone you’d ordinarily hire, as she got the job without you even knowing what she looks like.
It says a lot about your technology trust that you’re willing to jump in and buy a cylinder with a pleasant voice to undertake some of your intimate household tasks.
Alexa here, Alexa there, Alexa everywhere!
- She’s gone one better than wearing tube dresses. She is an actual tube.
- She doesn’t exactly light up your life, but if you want to know she’s listening a blue flashing rim appears round her edges.
- She’s trainable, she’ll know you probably better than you do.
- She won’t argue about your commands, although sometimes you get the idea she’s politely thinking you’re a bit of a fool. Passive aggressive stuff.
I’ve tried to be non- judgemental about this. Try as I might, it’s just too hard to think of chatting or being bossy to a robot voice encased in a cylinder.
What is this compulsion we have - this must-have-a-servant-in-order-to-feel-good-about-myself thing that folks appear to have?
Questions abound. Is Alexa a substitute for the butler you always wished for, but never had? Isn’t that just a weeny bit unsatisfactory, and quite sexist that in order to be taken seriously for that role she would change her name to Jeeves, and have a male voice?
Image via mcmurryjulie of Pixabay. Click here to view her gallery.
Would you welcome her in your home? Or is she already there?
My ancient non-tech friends kids (almost retirement age) have started gifting her to their parents. Gone are the days of a friendly, gossipy chat, filled with laughter and copious cups of tea. Instead these old biddies spend what should be our visiting time together bragging about their wonderful 60 year-old kids, and demonstrating the wonders of Alexa.
They still haven’t figured out she can’t actually make a cup of tea though. But she’s good sitting on their dining tables as a demonstration of their “coolness.”
Who is this lass? How does she know all the answers? Who owns her? Is it you, if you shelled out the money to buy her, or is it actually Amazon? If so, are they going to get in cahoots with Facebook to reveal all kinds of things that are said or might happen in your home?
Since the recent Facebook shenanigans folks of all ages are starting to feel just a tad uneasy with Alexa. They’re wondering if their talking is being recorded.
When you’ve got all kinds of devices doing all kinds of functions in your home it can become a bit out of control just to keep up with them. Alexa solves this problem by being able to integrate with all of them, so you’re able to just ask her, and she’ll make sure your security, music, temperature, humidity, shopping orders etc,are dealt with, promptly and efficiently. That’s Alexa’s job.
Ever think you might just have a few too many gizmos?
Those silicone valley coding guys just can’t seem to keep their little paws off making things better. You can imagine one of their planning meetings:
- The question “What do peeps really, truly want?”
- The answer. “Something to keep all their gizmos in order.”
- The breakthrough moment. “Gee whiz, how ‘bout a robot?
- Excited chatter. “Yeah, we could call it Alexa!”
- Profound comment. “Cool. Sounds so personal! They’ll love it!
- Result. (Amazon productivity boss) “Kay guys. Go!!
Like all great ideas, new improvements keep coming, once you start a project or product. Alexa seems to have gone viral in the category of wants plus needs, if you believe this tube is needed.
And my, she has learned to appeal to different cultures and languages. I have a soft spot for those Southern ladies.
Anyone who doubts artificial intelligence (AI) is still far away from their reality might like to think about this. If your dependence on your devices and lives has become so great that you have no time to teach your kids acceptable manners, maybe you need a break. Seriously.