As much as I like technology, I’m not really into gadgets. I have my Samsung Galaxy 6 pocket computer, an 8-inch Android tablet, and a Kindle Paperwhite, that’s it (and I say that’s it fully conscious that even these three items are still a lot). Each serves a purpose, has a niche in my life, and fill a want/need. While I think gadgets are cool, I’m a little too pragmatic to go for the latest technological doodad.
And then my wife went and bought two Amazon Echo Dots for the house.
Even though they were on sale, we talked it over and justified the purchase by thinking of ways in which Alexa’s voice commands could help my wife out once she’s on maternity leave with a new baby in the house. It seemed legit, so we put them in our cart and checked out.
I won’t even pretend for the sake of building up suspense that I didn’t like the Echo Dot at first, because from the moment I plugged that sucker in, I’ve been having all sorts of fun with voice commands for Alexa. I got my Pandora account linked to the Dot so I can listen to my stations, set up a few skills for fun and convenience (loving the white noise rain sounds), got my Google calendar synched up for easy reference by everyone, and daily find new ways to smile at the fact that I love living in the future. As I sat down to write this, I had Alexa start a timer so I could manage my writing time properly, and I find Alexa’s wake-up alarm sounds a lot more soothing than the one on my phone. My toddler daughter has found that she can also talk to Alexa, and it’s the cutest thing when she asks what’s the weather for today, or says night night to the Dot.
Listen, I know that having these two little smart speakers in our apartment is like the epitome of first world privilege, I do. Our lives were perfectly fine before Alexa showed up at our door. But I’m enjoying the convenience they bring, and that’s fine, too. My mother-in-law is paranoid that the government is listening, to which I say, who cares? If the government wants to listen to my toddler ask Alexa for the weather ten times in a row, listen to me sending an “I love you” announcement from one room to the other, and listen to my Trance, 80s, Worship, or Air Supply radio stations, have at it. In the meantime, I’ll ask Alexa for another joke.