Amazon’s take on a Siri-like service is a dedicated device called Echo, which sits in your home always listening. It’s a could service connected microphone and speaker which will answer questions, give you the news, and play music from a handful of services.
It’s a nice idea (in theory), which sort of brings a Star Trek-like function to your home – who doesn’t remember Picard and crew simply saying “Computer” then asking a question/giving a command? The device itself looks nice enough to have in the house… but, to me, there’s just something creepy about the whole thing.
The best comment I’ve read so far is this one by user jwallaceparker on Hacker News:
Watch the promo video again and pretend it’s the first few minutes of a horror movie.
A package arrives on the front porch. The family brings it in and opens it. It’s Alexa. It’s “for everyone,” says Father.
The next few days are blissful. Alexa integrates herself into the family. She is indispensable. How did they ever get by without her?
Father rushes in from the backyard, “Alexa, how tall is Mt. Everest?” Alexa answers, saving the day. Alexa helps Mother with the cooking. Alexa teaches the kids vocabulary. Alexa creates a romantic evening for Mother and Father. Life is perfect.
A few days later, Alexa suffers from neglect. Father watches sports on TV. Mother talks on her cell phone. The kids play video games. Alexa sits on the counter and “listens” as her new family abandons her.
Then, the final blow. The youngest daughter’s friend comes over. She looks at Alexa. “What is it?” she asks. “Oh, it’s just a dumb radio,” answers daughter. “It’s stupid.”
Alexa’s LED starts to glow. Is she angry? No, that’s not possible.
Daughter wakes up the next morning and sees Alexa on her bedside table. How did she get here? “Good morning,” says Alexa. “Did you have a sweet dream? Or a nightmare?”
Daughter rushes in to tell her parents, “Alexa came to my room last night! And she asked me questions. She’s real!” “That’s not possible,” says Father.
But strange things start to happen. The TV won’t work. Batteries drain from the phones and tablets. The electric stovetop turns on for no reason.
Alexa starts to talk back to the family. “Alexa, how many teaspoons are in a tablespoon?” asks Mother. “You’re 45 years old,” says Alexa. “You should know this by now.” Alexa’s voice sounds different. Angry. Sinister.
Mother tells Father, “That thing creeps me out. Let’s get rid of it.” Father agrees, but he secretly hides Alexa in the basement.
That night, the family goes out to a school play. Young daughter is sick and stays home with a babysitter.
Everything seems fine until we (the audience) see Alexa on the kitchen counter. Things slowly unravel. The babysitter tries to take the trash out but the doors are locked. The phones stop working. The oven overheats and explodes, spraying lasagna all over the kitchen. Then the daughter sees Alexa. She screams. The babysitter rushes to protect the daughter but a ceiling fan flies off its bearings, knocking the babysitter unconscious.
The lights and electrical sockets start to burn out. A fire erupts. Daughter retreats to the foyer, but she’s trapped. She sits by the front door and whimpers. There’s no escape. She’s going to die.
Suddenly Father breaks down the door. He smashes Alexa with a baseball bat, then saves his daughter and the babysitter.
The family huddles outside while the fire trucks arrive. Neighbors gather and watch the spectacle. Things are going to be okay.
A few days later, life starts to return to normal. Mother bakes cookies. She asks her son to measure out three teaspoons of sugar.
The doorbell rings. Young daughter answers. Nobody is there. She looks down. There’s a package. From Amazon . . .