Digital Misunderstandings

Sadly, Alexa and I are no longer friends. And never will be again.

It all started so well: no more overboiled eggs thanks to Alexa’s thoughtful reminders. I could turn up the volume on my favorite radio station without putting my sticky hands on the dial. There were even amusing shopping lists, because Alexa didn’t understand everything at first. But we were just getting to know each other. And then my husband – and his music – came into the picture.

Too nice?

“Alexa, please play ByteFM Internet radio,” he called out cheerfully. “Sorry, I didn’t get that. Here is a radio station that you might like: Sting” … Yikes! Not that I want to offend any Sting fans out there. OK, take two – my husband is very patient (and maybe too nice?). Time to leave out “please”? “Alexa, play ByteFM Internet radio.” The dulcet tones of Alexa: “Sure, I will now play a radio station that you will like: hits of the 80s.” Yikes! My patient hubby is now grim-faced. He raises his voice: “Alexa! ByteFM INTERNET RADIO!” A prompt answer in a soft voice: “Order your desired Internet radio now?” Yikes, Alexa! This will not end well. I have a go: “Alexa, play ByteFM Internet radio.” “Sure, enjoy listening to ByteFM.”

„Order your desired Internet radio now?“

My husband looks perplexed. I calm him down – he can try again tomorrow. Next evening: round two: he’s already exasperated. “ALEXA!!! BYTEFM!!!!” “Sorry, I didn’t catch that,” purrs Alexa. Husband: “You’re stupid!” “That wasn’t very nice,” shoots back Alexa. My husband looks like he’s about to explode!

New home or new man?

Evening three: same story. We change tack. Husband asks: “Alexa, what’s the weather like in Lucca?” A soft voice comes from the speakers: “The weather in Lucerne is good, but it’s windy so take a scarf.” Yikes, Alexa! Things were getting worse. And the downward trend continued in the weeks ahead. My decision was easy. Alexa and I have parted company. My husband is back to his old happy, relaxed and patient self – with our analogue hi-fi. Alexa has moved in with another couple a few streets away. And even understands the husband: “Hi, here’s Alexa, I will now play ByteFM, enjoy!”  Too late. But we’re all learning.


Words: Henriette Viebig
Illustration: Tobias Rieger

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