Dear Mr. or Ms. Amazon,
First off, this is not a complaint letter. I imagine you get a lot of those. No, this is more a question and a couple suggestions. And don’t worry, I’m not a kook. I’m an Amazon Prime Member!
Anyhoo, I recently purchased an Amazon Tap, the digital home assistant that goes by the name Alexa.
She’s great! Much better than my Google Home that I also purchased (I have a gadget problem). I like that Google Home can tell me what a whale sounds like and has the correct definition for the word “irony” (the expression of one’s meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect). But the base unit HAS TO BE PLUGGED IN!! Why not also require that you connect through a rotary telephone? Am I right or what?!
Back to Alexa. As the Tap is portable, I often bring it to my backyard spa to enjoy the dusk sunset. Have you ever though of teaching Alexa bird calls? Just an idea.
The day hadn’t been going great, so I wasn’t in the most groovy mood. In fact, I was pissed. So I wasn’t in the mood to hear John Denver’s Take Me Home Country Road (Not Alexa’s fault. That was just the last playlist on Pandora.).
Anyhoo, I asked Alexa to play to play one of the baddest-assed songs I know, Ted Nugent’s Stranglehold. (Side note, I interviewed Nugent once on gun control. The Motor City Madman nicknamed me Scottily Wottily.).
In the spa, I told Alexa simply: “Play Stranglehold.” I’ve done it so often, I know that’s all the instruction she needs.
Except this time, as I made the request, a plane buzzed nearby overhead. (I live near the Van Nuys Airport, one of the busiest general aviation hubs in the world, handling 217,000 plane movements in 2015.
The plane and my words must have co-mingled, because Alexa heard something that made her reply: “That’s kind of you to say. Thank you.”
So now I’m wondering: ‘What did she hear?’ Worse: “Was that just a polite thank you, an uncomfortable response to a creepy come-on?” When I told her “Sorry,” she said “No worries.” But, honestly, it sounded a little rote, like she was saying it just because she had to.
So, two-part question: Have you considered programming Alexa to answer this question: “Alexa, what do you think I just asked you.”
I’m dying of curiosity. I’ve tried to replicate the incident. Even tried to come up with a similar phrase that might evoke another electronic blush. The closest I could come to “Play Stranglehold” was “Stay dangle gold.” But she didn’t know what that meant.
So, part II: Would be to please have your tech people let Alexa know I really am sorry? I may have been naked when I said it. Do I have to register with some sort of electronic predator list?
Anyhoo, that’s it. Keep up the good work. I hear you’re making Alexa sweep now. One tip: Do NOT let her watch those Terminator movies.
Spank my behind…er, Thanks for your time. (Siri can be a real smartass).