She has an identity crisis

Confused Alexa

I’ve 3 echo’s around the house, but I’ve a love and hate relationship with Alexa. I love it because I can bark orders and she’ll obey diligently by turning on or off the lights or telling me about the weather. She’s reasonably smart but for instance, recently she couldn’t tell me how many Dalai Lama’s there have been. Two seconds on searching on my phone gave me the answer.

But there are a few things which drive me nuts. Sometimes I call her schizo because of it.

  • When I set a timer on one, I can’t cancel it or ask about the timer on another
  • She won’t even let me know when I’m somewhere else that the timer is up
  • When I ask to turn on the lights, she has no concept of place so she’ll ask me “which lights?”. “Well since I’m downstairs and it’s dark, maybe downstairs?”.
  • When I ask her to increase temperature, she asks me “which device?”. I’ve only one thermostat so what’s the point of that question. She knows that!
  • Sometimes the TV is on and I can’t hear what she says. I ask her to turn up the volume. Then the TV is off and when I ask her something, she “screams” the response. Why can’t she just measure the ambient noise level and change her volume accordingly?
  • When I ask her how long it will take to go to the office, she has no concept of what work means, but she doesn’t even ask me. Where is your office?
  • And since we’re on the subject, Alexa doesn’t know the difference between me and my significant other. We’re all the same people to her. My office is not her office. Even if she would know the concept of office, she won’t be able to make recognize the difference.

The fundamental question is if Alexa is one person for me or 3 different ones? Does she understand place and time? Does she recognize people? As much as I love using Alexa, it still feels like an unrefined product and it’s not really moving forward. I don’t care about 20,000+ skills nor do I care about TV or toaster with Alexa built in. I care about Alexa, but she isn’t growing up. She’s still a toddler.

A love letter


Dearest Path, I was in shock when you told you were leaving me. It’s been a few weeks, but I’ve yet…

A tale of email

I won

A year ago, I started on a quest to get rid of all newsletters, retention emails and other commercia…

Less is more

Skipping the news cycle

Yesterday, The New Yorker published an article called “The Urgent Quest for Slower, Better News”. Th…

Like your home, it’s better not shared

Own your blog

Yesterday, I was reading a post on Medium that Medium is not a great place to blog. And kind of like…