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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Alexa, teach my son to be polite

On the TV show Westworld, visitors to a high-tech theme park use and abuse androids to fulfill their fantasies.

Nobody says “please” or “thank you” to Alexa, writes Ken Gordon in The Atlantic. He worries that the ability to command a digital assistant is teaching his 13-year-old son to be bossy and rude.

“Alexa, play Jeopardy!,” he might say—and his word is her command. And that gives me pause. My wife and I have expended much time and energy ensuring that when Ari speaks, he does so respectfully and intelligently. But he can speak to Alexa without any consideration at all. “Please” or “thank you” are never involved. In fact, polite words would just get in the way.

Gordon asks “what might be the consequences of giving a child this voice-activated magic lamp, one with no limit to wishes and no consequences for exceeding the allotted amount?”

How many years before teen-age boys are pooling their money to buy or rent sex-bots?

In response to parents’ concerns, Amazon will modify Alexa to thank users for saying “please,” reports the Washington Post. In addition, Amazon “is adding parental controls to the Echo, Echo Dot and Echo Plus to help limit when a child can interact with the technology.”

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