You know Alexa, I know Alexa, everybody knows Alexa! But how well do you really know her?
A few years ago, all we knew about was how annoyed and frustrated our Alexa made us: from mis-hearing our words, to giving us completely different answers than expected, to just asking Alexa to STOP. For many, Alexa was a confounding (but fun!) toy.
But over the years, we’ve changed, and Alexa has changed too. Alexa is now helping people with more than just listening to music; Alexa is helping to make people’s lives easier.
Alexa helps you stay organized; AND you get to have fun with her. It’s a win-win, right? As humans, we are learning more about how to interact with artificial intelligence, voice-activated assistants, voice commerce, automated telemarketing, and touchscreen rituals. As we learn, so too does Alexa.
‘Please’ and ‘Thank You’ Are the Magic Words
As you rely more on Alexa to help you get through the day, do you often wonder about your level of civility with your device? Users seem to be starting to show more respect for Alexa, and are saying “Sorry”, “Please” and “Thank you”. Shouldn’t you be kinder to sweet Alexa?
If you’re one of the 68 million people who have used Alexa through 2021, you know you can develop quite an ongoing relationship with this device. With your voice directives, Alexa can set off your alarm, remind you of scheduled tasks, search the web for shopping items, or control your smart home appliances like lighting and air conditioning, to name a few.
But for others, goofing around with Alexa can be SO much more fun. This clip is a clear example. Alexas can share knock-knock jokes, answer riddles, or spout poetry. Are you the kind of person who has inane Q & As with Alexa? That’s half the fun!
Why Do We Love Our Alexa?
Why do people love their Alexa? Well, for starters, you can get smarter. People use Alexa like a rapid-fire encyclopedia of sorts. They pepper Alexa with questions about historical eras, world wars, musical acts, YouTube influencers, and anything under the sun.
Alexa helps you grow your knowledge base. The artificial intelligence embedded within comes to know your voice commands over time. As Alexa learns how to better respond to your questions and comments, its internal brain will evolve to increasingly satisfy your curiosity in more personal ways.
As this intellectual/emotional ‘relationship’ blossoms, do you find yourself thankful? Do you thank your Alexa when it reminds you of that Zoom call in 15 minutes? Are you appreciative when Alexa alerts you to pay a bill on time? Do you say “please” to Alexa, as you might with friends or strangers? Are you a well-mannered Alexa user? Shouldn’t we all be?
These are the kinds of thoughts and feelings around Alexa that have been bubbling up in recent months in blogs, forums, and video clips. Is artificial intelligence transforming us as ‘customers’? Are we in a new relationship with a device? Man (or woman ) and Machine? What’s your behavior like with Alexa?
Cussin’ and Rantin’
In any relationship, there are ups and downs. The ups are fun and friendly. The downs are… well, what happens when Alexa hears our rants, anger, and frustration?
Maybe you’re alone at home. You’ve got trouble in mind, or on your mind. Blurting out some cuss words, you’re startled by Alexa, awakening to ask you to repeat something.
“Oh!” you say. Reflexively, you reply, “Alexa, I’m sorry.”
Alexa might reply “no problem,” or “that’s OK.” And then, what? Do you reply to Alexa with ‘All good!’ or something similar?
Or do you get upset with Alexa about some circumstances you’re facing IRL? What might that indicate about our own manners and common courtesy?
If you live in a house with children, you might already be active with your tone of voice and positive word use. The way you speak to your Alexa device may be a helpful reinforcement to your children, too. So when they get silly with Alexa, they might also be somewhat respectful.
How to Be a Well-Behaved Alexa User
A decade into the reign of voice-activated assistants, it’s obvious that our devices have become adept at mirroring our own self-language. If we are shooting off our mouths in everyday language, there’s a chance Alexa might start to take that in and spout it back. If you are a sarcastic ponce in your words, your Alexas might start to throw some barbs right back at you.
We say It’s time to put your foot down to meanness and start to be kind to your Alexa. “Do unto others…” and all that. How can you show a more gentle-hearted personality with your Alexa? Let us count the ways:
Compliment your Alexa - Say things like, “You look nice today.”
Ask Alexa how she’s feeling? “How is your mood today, Alexa?”
Try to remember to say “Please” and “Thank you” in your interactions
Thank Alexa after she places your food order
Have fun with Alexa - Pepper her with random questions to keep her sharp
The longer you interact with Alexa, the closer you’ll become. Your ‘customer delight’ will grow. With a few years of use, your ‘Alexa relationship’ may blossom into new levels of kindness. These are the things that our team at Blutag thinks about often.
And maybe, that emerging kindness with Alexa can also help us one day to become a bit more civil with our fellow humans, too.