Do they teach their children to say please and thank you to the toaster? What about the microwave? At base, there is fundamentally zero difference between Alexa and any other non-human, non-intelligent, non-sentient kitchen appliance. If the appliance is a ‘smart’ version of one of these makes no difference. I would suggest that implying otherwise to your children by asking them to use please and thank you when interacting with Alexa is a form of deception/lying about reality, and setting them up for major confusion later in life. What about the case of their children’s toys? Let’s take a little girl’s doll as an example. Do they require their daughter to use please and thank you with it? Almost certainly not, and again their is zero difference between the doll and Alexa in terms of their status as living beings/things worthy of /deserving of human kindness and decency. This is not to imply that the children should be allowed to behave cruelly to Alexa, only that kindness, cruelty, and words/terms like them have no meaning with respect to Alexa. They are logically incoherent, nonsense, absurd, when applied to Alexa for they are only logically coherent when applied to living beings and/or living/sentient/intelligent beings. Alexa is not alive or sentient or intelligent.

Written by

Research scientist (Ph.D. micro/mol biology), Thought middle manager, Everyday junglist, Selecta (Ret.), Boulderer, Cat lover, Fish hater

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store