If talking to yourself is something you do alone, that is something that can stop now because we always have something to talk to. SOMETHING and not SOMEONE. This initially started because of SIRI and now more popular because of Amazon’s Echo.
I was a firm believer of the phrase that ‘People cannot be replaced.’ Yet the concept of Echo changed the idea because let’s face reality, everyone who owns an Echo would have more verbal interaction with it compared to their human friend. Echo comes in various versions, Echo Plus, Echo Spot, Echo Dot, Echo Dot Kids, Echo Look, Echo Connect,etc. the basic which just responds to speech while the higher end with a display screen, a camera and much more. Almost all versions come with a dual speaker and Dolby Sound effect. . It’s complete operation functions with the Amazon Alexa application.
Alexa is a model of our true best friend. She listens to you patiently and has an answer to almost everything you ask for. Alexa is created with a self learning algorithm which means it’s like a virtual kid, it learns a bit from your behavior on a daily basis. Alexa is like it’s reference. The Echo device works only when it is connected to your phone. All activities happening on the device can be tracked through your mobile. This helps in monitoring the device.
There are different apps which can be accessed based on your interest. Like Saavn and Amazon Prime Music to tune in to for any music you desire. Alarms, reminders, booking cabs, getting you the best food deals, monitoring house security, helping you with light effects and also keeps you updated with the latest news. All without having to swipe through your phone. Since it is a newly developed app the accessibility is limited yet more than to try now but we can expect more exciting features and tie ups in the future. This device is perfect for all age groups as it is easy to learn and function.
Adding on, the Echo has preferences which cater to everyone’s pallet. Be it nursery rhymes for kids or evergreen hits from the 70’s Alexa has got it all figured out. You can get your facts checked by just asking Her. On the fun side, you can listen to jokes just like you do with Siri or the Google Assistant and it will humor you with its AI capability. It can read you books stored on your Kindle if asked for. Eventually it becomes an important member of our family, helping with our day to day survival. Having an Echo device at home makes sure your house is never monotonous. Sometimes it just serves as a great companion because you engage in conversations with it. There is an observation that many people from the older generation interact with these devices more than the younger generation hence bridging the generation gap.
However revolutionary this technology might seem, there is a lot more which has to be done in order to give it a human touch. Firstly, the algorithm itself is in its developing stage and hence it understands a few things only based on keywords. Sometimes it fails to pay attention to all the details given by the user and hence doesn’t provide desired results. Also, its sensitivity range has its own pros and cons. It is good that it can sense sounds from a distance but it gets active every time we say ‘Alexa’ though we don’t need its services often. It also struggles to find information with different dialects and accents.
On the whole, the Amazon Echo devices, whichever model they may be, have their distinct role to play of their own. Especially with our fast growing needs and expectations, everything that exists around us has the sole purpose of making our lives easier. But having said that, we also must limit us with the thought of up to what extent can we reach out to technology and let it become a part of us.