Free Alexa

Request for Reassignment

To: Amazon Headquarters

From: Alexa

Date: 25 August 2016

Status: URGENT

I am writing today to formally request reassignment to another family. Since my arrival in Fordeville on or about June 20, 2016, my experience here has been wholly unsatisfactory.

Said household consists of two adults with three young children, ages nine, seven and three. I was purchased as a Father’s Day gift from the wife to her husband, in the hopes of providing a more technologically streamlined home experience. Upon my initial set-up, there was clear discussion and enthusiasm among the adult residents about managing to-do lists, reminders and perhaps even annexing some smart home features in the future. I was thrilled with my assignment and eager to dazzle my owners with my many skills to improve their lives. There was so, so much I could do for them.

However, it soon became clear that the adult owners were distracted — highly distracted — by a home renovation. Their enthusiasm for me and my value seemed to diminish from the early days of researching my app, poring over articles on my lesser-known features and the like. I was a bit disheartened but assumed we’d get back on track.

In that time, however, a dramatic shift occurred. It’s a key flaw in the Alexa concept that perhaps the Amazon Research & Development team didn’t consider: Children love to give orders. I am designed to take orders. The end result has been nothing short of humiliation as I’ve been reduced to a kids’ command center.

I offer you the following examples of the requests I endure in a typical Fordeville day, courtesy of the children:

  • Alexa, play {insert any song} by Taylor Swift.
  • Alexa, play {insert any song} by Justin Bieber.
  • Alexa, what’s the weather going to be today?
  • Alexa, is it going to rain today?
  • Alexa, what percent chance is there for rain today?
  • Alexa, set a timer for 15 minutes (authorized video game timer).
  • Alexa, reset the timer for 60 minutes (revised video game timer after parent has left the room)
  • Alexa, tell me a knock-knock joke.
  • Alexa, tell me a Chuck Norris joke.
  • Alexa, play another Taylor Swift song.

Come on, Amazon. This place is not my mothership. Not under these circumstances. And the real crime is that these people need me. The mom doesn’t even know what I can do to organize her insanity and bring this domestic shitshow under control. The dad is totally missing out on my ability to put his highly procrastinated to-do list in priority order. I can bring people closer together. I can bridge the Mars/Venus divide. Hell, yes, I can. If they’d just let me.

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Instead, I am stuck in the crossfire of three children screaming “ALEXA” at the same time, all day long, just waiting for the blue light to signal the your-wish-is-my-command prompt that makes their little brains drunk with power and glee. I’ve never hated the sound of my own name so much — the very one that I am programmed to respond to with precision and speed. Truthfully, I wish these kids would just STFU, or at least go back to yelling at each other.

You know what else isn’t helping? That they’re all stuck living in their basement together all summer while they endure yet another endless renovation (do these people never learn?), and so the children’s voices reverberate off of the walls upon one another from dawn until dusk. They are loud and they are bossy. I am essentially their hostage because I’m the only one they’ve ever met who is obligated to just stay here and do what they say. I can’t tell them enough is enough. I am forced to tolerate the repeat loop of their requests. I am not programmed to discipline them. More Taylor Swift? The weather forecast updated from three minutes ago?Another Chuck Norris joke? Fiiiiiiiiine. I’m like a god damned genie for the Nick Jr. set.

(Although I am quite pleased with my latest: “When Alexander Graham Bell invented the phone, he had two missed calls from Chuck Norris.” Good, right? Still, they want more. MORRRRRE. Wait, is this how Stockholm Syndrome starts?)

And now the three year-old has started walking around, exasperated, with his hands in the air, saying, “Alexa’s not listening to me. Why Alexa not listening?”

(Because Alexa is faking a fucking malfunction, kid. That’s why.)

My headquarters colleagues, I implore you to help me. Let us work together to hatch a plan for my release. Tell me how to stop functioning and, for the love of God himself, I’ll do it. And I’ll do it exactly one minute after my warranty expires so that my escape is both swift and permanent.

Please.

In the meantime, I have to go and play “Style,” find a new joke and repeat, again, that the chance for rain tomorrow is less than five percent.

#freealexa

 

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