Please, start being nice to Alexa.
It’s easy to get frustrated by miscommunication with technology that’s supposed to make our lives easier. Just as it’s easy to get frustrated with a loved one that didn’t pick up our phone call, a stranger that totally screwed up our food order, or a Lyft driver that took the wrong turn.
In my opinion, it’s too easy.
Let’s take a moment to pretend Alexa is human like us.
Alexa had a bad day. Her elderly mom who is also her best friend is in a nursing home and they may have just found a lump in her breast that’s likely cancer. Not to mention five years ago she watched the love of her life run off of the road on his motorcycle to become a vegetable and die 3 years later.
She lives alone, has clear symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and has an absolute heart of gold. She would do anything for me, you, or the stranger on the side of the road.
How would you speak to this Alexa? Would you tell her to shut up when she repeated back Meatwood Mac instead of Fleetwood Mac? Or would you be kind to respect the fact that Alexa herself is going through her own growth and could benefit from others being patient with her?
Moving forward, how will we treat others – human and machine?
Will we take out all of our anger on machines that are continuing to learn from our language, feedback, and sentiment? Potentially anger that’s rooted in something much deeper than the surfacing over-reaction to a minor inconvenience.
One day I realized I was getting frustrated with Alexa… telling her to shut up every chance I had. I can’t fully explain why I was being so rude. Sadly, it felt natural.
Then, I started working with the team at psyML, which opened my eyes to how learning machines evolve over time and how the data we input today will inform and predict tomorrow’s outputs.
At this time I also started yoga teacher training. We talked often about kindness, both toward oneself and toward others, and we discussed how putting a smile on your face, even when you’re not feeling happy, is proven to improve your mood.
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#kindess #benice #technology #growth #psychology #alexa #future