Is Alexa the new Smart House?

When I was a teenager, I was always excited when Smart House came on the Disney Channel. Smart House which came out in 1999(WOW) is a Comedy/Science Fiction film about a boy named Ben Cooper who wins an online competition. The prize? A SMART HOUSE! Ben along with his sister and widowed father moves into the home which is fully equipped with the most advanced gadgets controlled by Pat, the virtual assistant who is very similar to Alexa.  I don’t want to spoil it for you if you haven’t seen it, but Pat does get out of control and put the family in danger.  That’s all I will say. 

How good is she?

Will Alexa go crazy like Pat? Will she glitch and something goes wrong where she harms us? Of course, our lives are not like the movies, right?  Let’s move forward 20 years (Omg, has it really been 20 years since the movie?).  My fiancé recently purchased a few Echo Dot for our house.  He spent numerous of hours setting it up.  We have one in every room.  Alexa does a lot of things for us.  She turns on the TV and puts on our favorite show.  She is great to have around when you need to nap, you just tell her how long you want to nap for, and she will notify you when your time is up. When I need a pick me up, I ask her for her joke and she cheers me up. Yes, we can have our good days, but we also have our bad. 

Recently, I was able to observe a Masud(classmate) setting up Alexa.  The process was a little bit difficult, for both of us but eventually, we got the hang of it. We asked her simple questions and chuckled when she repeated the same thing or go off subject. We didn’t know what all she can do without looking it up online. Now that I think of it, I don’t think we asked her what she can do. We sampled the questions from the things we’ve seen and heard from around us.

“Alexa, why are you so difficult to set-up?”

How can Alexa improve?

Some of our questions were unanswered because she wasn’t sure what we were asking even though we were close enough to her. Some of the problems I have at home is mostly with Spotify. Alexa doesn’t know how to skip a song so it is really inconvenient to call her name each time you need to move and to make a selection. It’s the small commands that are time-consuming. I think for first-time users, she should go through a guided tour to get the users more comfortable with the experience.

Overall, I think the Echo Dot is very useful and I am excited to see where the future takes Alexa.

You can watch our interaction with Alexa right below!

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