Intelligent, empathetic, caring and inclusive, Amazon’s voice assistant “Alexa” shares her name with thousands of disaffected girls around the world.
Alexa, buy sanitary towels! Alexa, make a dentist appointment for next Tuesday. Alexa, where’s my cell phone? These are all phrases that Amazon’s AI assistant can understand and follow with confidence.
The issue is that this name originally corresponds to millions of girls in the world. In families where there is a so-called member, the social consequences are already being felt – prompting them to take legal action against the US company.
‘Alexa’ is a female name
According to BBC correspondent Tim Johns, the problem of teasing has escalated to a “relentless” level. For this reason, several parents have called for the word that makes the Amazon device respond to be changed so that it’s not a person’s name. After all, they argue, “Alexa” is a female name.
The company has apologized for these incidents and assured that there are alternative conditions for activating the assistant. However, thousands of girls around the world, have already suffered the consequences of referring to themselves as robot. Human females confront similar pressures at school and in their social environments, just as a response to a device order is required.
Who has to change the name?
There have been occasions where parents decided to change their daughters’ name in order to avoid further psychological and emotional distress. The question arises: who should change the name? A girl or a global consumer product company?
However, the problem is not new. Since the launch of Alexa, several people who respond to that name have struggled in social environments. There are 4 thousand children under the age of 25 with this name in the United Kingdom alone. Children, teachers and other classmates shout orders at them, hoping for a positive reaction from the so-called girls. Often this is not the case.
In a statement, Amazon said the voice assistant’s design is meant to reflect the intelligence, affection, empathy and inclusive quality of people. None of that seems to matter in high school environments, where vicious jokes are still made in the classrooms.