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Archive for September, 2018

A Few Reasons I Don’t Want Siri or Alexa in My House

I have friends (really, I do!) who own one of those voice-activated helpers that allow you to dim the lights, order vegan sushi or remember the lyrics to that annoying song you’ve been humming since 1987 but have never known the words to.

Apparently, some people think having a computer assist them with daily chores is great, but I’m skeptical (about everything, really). Here are just a few of my concerns:

  • The device would be just another thing I’d have to dust. Okay, to be honest, another thing I’d think about dusting for months, while praying for a strong breeze to blow through the house.
  • I’m afraid that the machine might surreptitiously keep track of how many times I go to the pantry for a snack during the day and then secretly send a report to my doctor AND my dentist.
  • The dogs would be freaked out if every time, I yelled, “Dinner time!” some other woman said, “There are fifteen restaurants in a 5-mile radius.”
  • Or, the dogs would like Siri or Alexa more than they like me. I will not have them cheating on me with a computer! Those are my kisses! Come back here!
  • If the Russians can hack our elections, who’s to say they can’t hack our home computers? What if I asked the machine to wake me up to the sounds of orca calls in the rain, but instead it played the Anthem of the Soviet Union, also known as “We Own Most of Your Politicians Now”? I don’t know about you, but that wouldn’t set a good tone for my day.
  • I’m already not as smart as my German dishwasher. Just the other day it beat me at chess (although I did win a game of hopscotch). I don’t want another appliance with an IQ higher than mine. My self-esteem can’t take it.
  • There is a distinct possibility all devices with a computer chip could communicate with each other while we’re not looking. For example, my computer could tell Alexa that I’ve been tweeting for four hours straight, so she could set off the fire alarm to make sure I get some exercise. And of course my FitBit would count my steps and send them to the refrigerator, which could decide whether or not to unlock and let me have a snack.
  • Apparently, many of my fears involve my inability to obtain snacks.
  • What if I woke up in the middle of the night and found my fax machine printing out page after page, despite the fact that it hasn’t worked since I bought it? How would I ever fall asleep again? The fax is coming from inside the house!
  • I do not want anything keeping track of how many times I got to the bathroom and suggesting I try Depends.
  • This one may be unique to me, but I’m fairly certain I would argue with Siri and then have to get Google involved to prove my point. I don’t have time for that. I’m busy trying to save democracy.
  • My friend Jennifer keeps offering/threatening to buy me one of those MedicAlert buttons, not because she thinks I’m feeble, but because she keeps finding me perched on the top rung of a ladder trying to scoop leaves out of my gutter. What if I fall and press my button and Alexa decides she can handle it herself, so she cancels the ambulance and shows me YouTube videos about proper gutter cleaning instead?
  • Something more about snacks and my inability to have them when I want.

Yep, I’ve got lots of concerns. I’ve decided that if I need a helper around here, I’ll get another dachshund — but this time, one who has been trained to fetch stuff and dim the lights.