A layperson’s exploration of all things voice

March 21, 2019

I Yell at Alexa (& My Wife Laughs)

This “Wired” article – entitled “The Terrible Joy of Yelling at Alexa” – piqued my interest because I find myself yelling at Alexa in order for my voice assistant to hear me. My wife laughs every time. And the article made me laugh. Here’s an excerpt:

It didn’t start out this way. I fell in love with my Alexa just after I gave birth to my son. I’d be trapped on the couch, my son nursing away, and with only my voice I could play NPR or find out the weather or even call friends and family via their Alexas. She was like an extension of me, doing the things I wanted to but couldn’t. Sometimes my husband and I joked that she was the other wife in the family.

But like all relationships, ours hit a rough patch. My son entered toddlerdom, I was back to work, my husband was applying for new jobs and traveling a lot and life was … stressful. The house was full of tension, but Alexa didn’t seem to notice. She answered every question in the same perky tone.

It was then that my husband and I began to gang up on her. We’d ask her something, she’d get it wrong, and we’d berate her. Alexa, you idiot, why on earth would you think we wanted to hear Phil Collins? We piled on. It made us feel better. It made us feel like we were on a team and our common enemy was dumb Alexa. We’d yell at her and then laugh and laugh.