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May 19, 2022

Alexa: your personal caddie or spy?

By Karen Moraghan, for AGN
Alexa personal assistant

Are you getting the feeling Alexa knows too damned much?

Alexa died last week. Or, should I say it— she?— stopped functioning. Is this a blessing or a curse?

Over the past few years I’ve come to rely on her to keep my shopping lists, report on the weather, or serve up some Queen music when I ask for it. But I’ve become keenly aware that even when I don’t ask she’s there, listening in on our conversations and remembering them, as witnessed by my husband receiving ads for bikinis or me learning about the latest chemicals to eradicate grubs on golf courses.

“Your voice is new to me. May I learn your name?”

No. If you don’t know it by now, we can’t be friends.

Ours used to be a household of two, but now three’s a crowd.

Alexa, like social media (and face it, that’s all she is, just in a different form), seems to know way too much about people’s lives. And in this case, those people are me.

Alexa hears everything

I’m all for sharing with people I chose to share with. But we brought Alexa into the house thinking it would be a one-way—she gives to us—relationship. Whatever happened to privacy?

If you’re on social media it’s clear that not much is private as people put it all out there. From hair and make-up tips to life-changing moments to personal issues. I know that’s what being “social” is all about, but often I feel like a voyeur or interloper. Part of me is offended, but I’m also worried about getting a bad case of FOMO.

I use social media to scrapbook and chronicle what I observe. It’s not where I expose my every feeling and share my every thought. But it turns out Alexa has been listening to it all. What’s to stop her/it from telling the world?

Okay, so this I am sharing: Do I reboot Alexa or give her the boot? On this, your reactions are welcome.

Karen Moraghan is a principal in Hunter PR, a leader in  hospitality marketing and strategy development, with a focus on golf and wellness.

Featured image courtesy of Hunter PR

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