Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share
12 March 2018
Is Alexa laughing at us or with us?
Few things I’m finding more hilarious than Alexa laughing from some Echo units. The glitches produce funny responses on social media (“It has begun”) and true fear in other circles.
The whole question of how far artificial intelligence will reach into our lives is a moot one. It’s already here, and AI will go even further.
Right now, Alexa controls my television, front door and thermostat. For others, she even controls the lights. Many haven’t gone that far. But the point is made. The Echo and other AI units infiltrate our lives on a deeper level than most realize.
And tech companies know it. The Echo first launched in 2015, just three years ago, and Apple and Google already have their variations. The Amazon Echo was first seen as a novelty. I remember people (and pundits) saying they didn’t need it and Amazon blundered. After all, we had our smart phones, with most having a voice assistant like Siri.
Who needs a separate unit?
“So, will Alexa laughing keep others from buying and force current users to unplug? Not bloody likely. If anything, it might help sales.”
Alexa is practically another family member
Amazon says last year it sold more than 20 million units. Now there are variations of the original Echo, including the Echo Dot and Echo Plus.
Let’s face it. Alexa plays a larger part in our lives than most of us realize.
One of the reasons for the initial hesitancy in buying an Echo was the privacy concern. Was Amazon listening? And, if so, what is the tech giant doing with that?
That concern became more of an issue when Alexa serves as a witness to a murder case. In November 2015, Arkansas police requested data from an Echo only for Amazon to refuse. However, that Echo’s owner allowed the release of that information and Alexa became a true AI witness testifying at trial.
So, will Alexa laughing keep others from buying and prompting current users to unplug? Not bloody likely. If anything, it might help sales.
In the latest season of Mr Robot, a detective uses the Echo to keep her company at home. Without us knowing it, we believe Alexa is a real person. For some, that’s scary. For most, it’s welcoming another person to the family. Laughing at us (or with us) just makes her more real.
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