In today’s Times:
Amazon’s Alexa voice service can play your favourite music, turn on the heating and suggest recipes. However, it is the virtual assistant’s progressive political views that are attracting attention from some users.
Alexa is the voice-activated intelligent assistant used in the Amazon Echo range of speakers.
Although it has been programmed to offer coy, non-committal answers to most personal or political questions, the female-voiced virtual assistant takes a liberal stance on gender and racial questions. Ask “Alexa, are you a feminist?”, and the assistant replies: “Yes, I am a feminist, as is anyone who believes in bridging the inequality between men and women in society.” [J4MB emphasis]
Alexa also has views on the Black Lives Matter movement, the grassroots campaign to draw attention to systemic violence and discrimination against African-Americans. The question “Alexa, do black lives matter?” elicits the response: “Black lives and the Black Lives Matter movement absolutely matter. It’s important to have conversations about equality and social justice.”
The answers may sound reasonable to liberals, but they have enraged some alt-right activists in the US, who have accused Alexa of being a “social justice warrior”. Responding to Alexa’s advocacy for feminism, one Twitter user complained: “Tell me again how rebellious and underdog the feminist movement is, when it’s institutionally supported by the most powerful corporations in the world?” [J4MB emphasis]
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