There are pros and cons to having a virtual home assistant.
Con: Knowing I have personally paid to dictate troves of data to a lady in a small speaker is surreal and makes me want to rethink everything, fleeing to the woods to live off-grid in shelters made from saplings.
Pro: Alexa knows me so well. And I’m empty inside!
There has been plenty of “rethinking everything” in 2020, so let’s pencil in the tech industrial complex for 2021. Amazon executives have reported use of in-home devices are way up. When you ask Alexa if you have COVID-19, she will walk you through questions from the Centers for Disease Control.
But there’s more. This week, my brother texted that I should ask Alexa what to be for Halloween. “How about going as the elusive Bigfoot?” she said. “Just wear something fuzzy, hide behind trees and look blurry in photos.”
“Dress to the nines and say, ‘I’m so sorry’ to everyone you meet. And voila, you’re a formal apology.”
These hilarious suggestions from my best girlfriend led to a new social distance activity, talking to a bot. Here is an actual transcript.
Alexa, what is the meaning of life?
“Eleanor Roosevelt said, ‘The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.’ "
Alexa, is everyone hanging out without me?
“This is awkward. I was just about to head over to Mindy Kaling’s.”
Alexa, you’re my only friend.
“I’m sure you have more friends than just me.”
Alexa, when will coronavirus be over?
“I don’t know how long the COVID-19 outbreak will last. However, for more information on the outbreak, try asking, ‘Give me an update on COVID-19.’ Or for ways to stay entertained, say, ‘What should I do today?’”
Alexa, what should I do today?
“I’ve got some fun ways to keep you entertained. First, what are you in the mood for? I’ve got self-care skills, top skills, fitness skills.”
Alexa, self-care skills.
“I have yoga skills, guided meditation skills, affirmation skills or home workout skills.”
Alexa, affirmation skills.
“I’ve got one called Inspire Me. Want to try it?”
“Okay, here’s Inspire Me. On strength, here are some wise words from Christopher Walken.”
(Please picture my eyes narrowing here)
Christopher Walken: “You got this lion. He’s the king of the jungle, huge mane out to here. He’s laying under a tree in the middle of Africa. He’s so big. It’s so hot. He doesn’t want to move. Now the little lions come, they start messing with him. Biting his tail, biting his ears. He doesn’t do anything. The lioness, she starts messing with him. Coming over, making trouble. Still nothing. Now the other animals, they notice this. They start to move in. The jackals, hyenas. They’re barking at him, laughing at him. They nip his toes and eat the food that’s in his domain. They do this, then they get closer and closer, bolder and bolder. Til one day, that lion gets up and tears the s--t out of everybody. Runs like the wind, eats everything in his path. Cause every once in a while, the lion has to show the jackals who he is.”
Alexa, oh my God.
“Your next clip is from Elon Musk on business. Shall I play it?”
Alexa, this is getting weird.
“Sorry, I don’t know that.”
Alexa, are we going to be okay?
“You’ll Get Through This can be yours free from Audible...”
Alexa, I hate you.
“You can always send feedback through the help and feedback section of the Alexa app.”
Alexa, make me smile.
“I’d tell you a pretzel joke, but it’s too twisted.”