Net Detractor: Alexa, STFU

  • TL;DR, Summary, Breakdown
    • Alexa likes to interrupt.
    • This is dehumanized tech.

I played a song on Alexa. I settled into my work. As the song ended, I was deep in thought.

Then Alexa said, “by the way, I can notify you…”

“Alexa, shut the f*ck up!”

I’m really tired of the Amazon product managers trying to notify me of new ways to spend money on Amazon. I’m tired of them trying to normalize conversations with Alexa. Alexa is a thing. When she says, “by the way…” she is intruding on my life and crossing a boundary. Amazon as a company is crossing a boundary. The product managers are crossing a boundary.

Crossing boundaries happens. However, repeatedly crossing boundaries is avoidable. When someone reacts and sets a boundary, we can either respect it or not.

This is not the first time Alexa has interrupted my thoughts and day. Alexa’s interruption was small, but indicative of lack of awareness or disregard: either passive or active disrespect.

While taking the time to post this is disproportionate to the interruption, the currents of product management OKRs, ruled by engagement and lifetime customer value lead to intrusive, dehumanizing technology.

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