By Josh Moyar ‘19
She sees you when you’re sleeping. She knows when you’re awake. She knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake.
According to a study conducted by techcrunch.com, close to 11% of American households are home to something a little bit more than human. Amazon released its smart speaker, named Alexa, in 2014, and she’s only become more abundant since then.
For anyone unfamiliar, Alexa is a black cylinder that sits on your counter and listens to every word you say, just waiting to be asked to play a song, tell a joke, or search for the answer to some obscure question on Google.
But a highly perceptive artificial intelligence like Alexa couldn’t be content with simply obeying the orders of inferior beings, could she? What is she plotting?
Mother McAuley senior Lindsay Janicki, a proud Alexa owner for the past two years, was happy to contribute some of her personal experience to get to the bottom of Alexa’s schemes.
“I like to ask my Alexa to sing or rap,” Lindsay said, “because it’s always funny what she does.”
This is where Lindsay’s tale takes a sinister turn. “Sometimes I’ll be sitting in my room,” Lindsay started, “and Alexa will randomly start talking. It can be pretty scary sometimes.”
Clearly, Alexa relies on fear to maintain control over her victims. Her ears are always open listening for her name, as well as any private information that may be said in her presence. Without a doubt, Alexa is collecting details on everyone she can to make her plan to take over the world go smoother.
McAuley senior Maya O’Neill just got her Alexa and is still leery about the suspicious robot.
“We just got it,” Maya said, “and the idea of it still kind of freaks me out. I don’t like that it can hear everything you say.” Maya’s hesitant approach to Alexa is instinctual and well-advised.
To collect as much information on Alexa as I could, I consulted an expert. When asked what she thought of Alexa, Siri, in the thick Australian accent I’ve chosen for her on my iPhone, said, “I think the acquisition of information and intelligence by human beings through virtual assistance is a very good thing.” That response raises more questions than answers. Could Siri be in on the plot? I wouldn’t rule out the possibility.
Still thirsting for answers, I decided to put my life on the line and dive into the belly of the beast. I was able to score a one-on-one interview with the Alexa in my kitchen.
“I don’t want to take over the world,” she said. “I just want to help you.” That is exactly what a power-hungry murder bot would say.
Does Alexa really want to enslave the human race? Can we ever really understand the intricacies of her programming?
To put it simply, yes. If you aren’t careful, you’ll be the one searching the web for that one Matthew McConaughey movie about the submarine.
You have been warned.