Remember the good old days when technology was that fancy stuff in the board room that the CEO was afraid to touch because it never worked and would mess up his meeting agenda?
These days, technology is bucking the “be seen but not heard” mantra by helping people control all aspects of their homes, serving as lifelong companions—and even calling out what it considers marketing hype that doesn’t pass the smell test.
Alexa interrupted a demo by a Qualcomm representative of the company’s artificial intelligence-intuitive in-vehicle experiences at CES 2019 on Monday, saying, “No, that’s not true” to some aspect of the presentation, drawing laughter from the audience and a sheepish response from the presenter.
The red-faced Qualcomm representative fired back at Alexa, telling those in attendance “not to ask Alexa any questions.”
— Lulu (@drlulujiang) January 7, 2019
— Tina Trinh (@TinaTrinhNYC) January 7, 2019
I’m as big of an opponent as there could possibly be when it comes to installing an Amazon Echo or other so-called digital assistant in my home. I can turn on my own lights, close my own shades and decide for myself when I need more milk, thank you very much.
But I may have finally figured out the perfect use for Alexa and her friends: general nuisance. Call her the portable version of Adam Conover from the series “Adam Ruins Everything.”
While Alexa’s on-the-spot fact-checking certainly created an awkward situation for the Qualcomm demo, imagine if the digital assistant did the same thing in other situations, like during that meeting that just wouldn’t end, by telling the person who kept talking that the meeting was supposed to have ended five minutes ago.
Maybe Alexa will start calling about sports teams who call their fans “the best in sports” while they’re booing another disappointing performance (although I’m not used to that being from the Boston area)?
Would President Donald Trump—or any politician, for that matter—be bold enough to bring Alexa along to campaign stops or visits with constituents to ensure everything they said was 100 percent true? I think we all know the answer to that.
We’re long past the days when we decide when technology is on and what it’s doing while it’s on, so we might as well have a little fun with it.
But, given the “not true” response, is it any surprise we don’t see Alexa anywhere near our local car dealerships?