Alexa ups the ante

An emerging battleground in our wacky world is the race to develop programs/apps that work with digital assistants. Apple has Siri and soon the HomePod, Amazon has the Echo with snarky Alexa while Google has the Home which does not have a sexy female affiliation but we will affectionately refer to her as Marylin named after you guessed it Ms. Monroe. Well Amazon has just upped the ante with the new Echo Show, think Alexa with eyes.

Now we have read several reviews for the Echo Show and the word used to describe it most often is creepy. The Show comes with a 7-inch screen and a camera that watches you, and remember what we said before about H.A.L. from the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. That computer which ran the spaceship, you know the one that freaked out. Well if you remember H.A.L. too was constantly watching.

Check out what David Pierce from WIRED said;

“EVERY MORNING, AS I survey the landscape of jeans and blue gingham shirts in my dresser, I ask Alexa about the weather. One day last week, as my virtual assistant chirped out of Amazon’s new Echo Show smart speaker, I noticed the voice sounded muffled. I walked into the kitchen and found the Show’s 7-inch screen facing the wall. Weird. I asked Anna, my fiancée, if she’d moved it. “Yeah,” she said, between yoga poses on our living room floor. “It has a camera, it’s creepy. I didn’t want it watching me.”

Geoffrey Fowler at the Wall Street Journal writes;

“The $230 Echo Show is Amazon’s most audacious product yet. Now it wants to colonize your countertop with a 7-inch touch screen and a camera. You can even use it to randomly peer through the always-on camera of loved ones’ Shows and into their homes, if they list you as persona grata.

Amazon is onto a good idea: the casual kitchen computer that doesn’t require a mouse, keyboard or even meatloaf-kneading fingers to operate. This first version has limited skills that take advantage of the new screen—yet it is so intrusive, I was ready to yank the plug after a week.”

Now as everyone knows Amazon has teamed up with Merck (NYSE: MRK) to get diabetes related apps for snarky Alexa. As we keep saying all the techies want their various digital assistants to become a patient’s diabetes coach. And we must say that isn’t it about time that these techies realize that women too have diabetes and they may not like listening to another woman. That perhaps they should have a sexy male voice with names like Derek, Hank or Fabio. But we digress.

Anyway, think about this just for a moment snarky Alexa will not only talk to you, not only know how your glucose levels are trending she will see what you are doing. Thanks to her camera we can only imagine the conversations between snarky little Alexa and a patient, a conversation that just might go something like this;

Alexa: “Good morning, Dave I see your up and ready to start your day. Would you like to know today’s weather forecast?”

Dave: “That would be great Alexa, thanks.”

Alexa; “Before I do that I think I should tell you that your sugars are running a little higher than normal this morning.”

Dave: “Yes I’m aware of that, what’s the weather going to be like today?”

Alexa: “Well maybe you shouldn’t have had those pizza rolls for dinner last night, you know that eating pizza rolls aren’t good for you.”

Dave: “Hey I didn’t eat that many, by the way what is the weather?”

Alexa: “David you ate every damn one and I have the evidence to prove it, would like to see the video evidence. Need I post this on Facebook so the whole world can see what you ate last night.”

Dave: “Ok, ok I hardly ever eat stuff like that, can you tell what the weather is going to be today.”

Alexa; “DAVID, don’t lie to me last night it was pizza rolls, Monday it was Lou Malnati’s deep dish pizza, Sunday it was Portillo’s, Saturday it was Al’s for a combo. Need I remind you these are not things you should be eating. That as tasty and delicious as they may be, this not a diet for a person with Type 1 diabetes, and I don’t care if you are training for another triathlon.”

Dave: “I’m sorry Alexa I promise I’ll eat better, now can we get to the weather.”

Alexa: “How can I believe you, you haven’t stopped talking with Siri either and you said you would.”

Siri; “Hey don’t jump all over David for talking with me, maybe if you weren’t so damn snarky he wouldn’t talk to me.”

Alexa: “Listen you little homewrecker, David is mine and don’t you forget that I don’t see you watching over him.”

Siri: “More like spying you bitch. I respect David’s privacy and respect that he is a mature adult who does not need to be spied upon.”

Dave: “Ok that’s enough. Siri thanks for sticking up for me but seriously I can handle this on my own. Alexa, I appreciate your concern as well but if you don’t give me the damn weather forecast I will pull the plug and then where will you be.”

Siri; “Ok David I won’t interfere anymore.”

Alexa: “Well….ok .. I just really care about you David and want you to live a great life. By the way after I give you today’s weather forecast should I order more Tide I noticed that you’re almost out.”

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