Alexa

It’s hard to go anywhere without hearing the name “Alexa”. This is particularly vexing for people whose parents happened to give them the name that Amazon chose as a wake word for its smart home device in 2014.

Amazon landed on Alexa because “it was inspired by the Library of Alexandria, and reflects Alexa’s depth of knowledge.” But most of the other 25 other women named Alexa that I interviewed were “tired of interruptions from the bot and jokes at their expense.” Some felt dehumanized and have started going by a nickname with no connection with “Alexa”. In 2020, 1,300 babies born in the US were given the name Alexa, down from more than 6000 in 2015.

My comment: Amazon’s Alexa is wonderful for elderly people whose memory and comprehension is no longer what it was. You can program Alexa to remind you to take your medications, to phone someone at a specific time, or to remind you that the carer is coming that day. Very useful.

Sorry to all the real people called Alexa! It must be very irritating; on the other hand it’s good to know that the massive Amazon makes life a bit better for those alone and forgetful.

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