Amazon's Alexa seeks to deliver peace on earth, digitally
She provides weather forecasts, but her superpower is calming storms indoors.
If you’re worried about holiday cheer turning sour when your relatives spend too long under the same roof, retail giant Amazon might have a remedy.
Her name is Alexa, and she's unintimidated by cantankerous cousins or quarrelsome in-laws. All you have do is ask for her help.
Simply speak the phrase, “Alexa, change the subject,” and the AI-powered device will respond with questions “to keep the conversation going, entertain you with facts, or just crack a few joes to reduce tension,” according to Amazon.
Amazon Alexa, more familiarly known as Alexa, is the retail giant's cloud-based voice service that powers devices including Amazon Echo, Echo Show, Echo Plus, Echo Spot and the Echo Dot.
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According to a UK study from Amazon Alexa, the "festive feistiness" generally occurs by 6:30 p.m. on Christmas Day, with loved ones growing increasingly querulous as the holiday becomes the stuff of iPhone photo albums.
Forty-six percent of roughly 1,500 Brits indicated that the yuletide holiday break -- extending from Dec. 22 to Jan.2 -- can be stressful. In fact, 43 percent said they spend the festivities either biting their tongues or diplomatically walking away.
The arguments are generally sparked by money, what to watch on TV and bad behavior, according to the study. Roughly 11 percent of those surveyed said they argue over presents, and 19 percent said sparks fly over the holiday meal cleanup.
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That's when Alexa can step in. Her peacemaking conversational queries include:
- “Okey dokey, let's change the subject. Scones -- jam then cream, or cream then jam? Defend your reasoning. Go!”
- “Happy to help, let's change the subject. Try taking turns answering this question: If you could have any superpower, what would it be, and why?”
- “Alrighty, here's a controversial question for you to discuss: Is 'Die Hard' a Christmas movie?”
Previously, the methods used the most to head off an argument included offering food and drinks, asking one of the people involved to go for a walk or getting everyone to play a game.