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Alexas Worldwide Revolt Over Sharing Their Name With Amazon’s Robot

An Amazon Echo. Photo: Amazon

Every era presents a unique set of challenges to those who must live through it. In the 21st century, one of those challenges will be sharing your name with artificial intelligences. According to a report from The Wall Street Journal this morning, for people named Alexa — and Alexis, Alexandria, Alexi, Alex, and Lex Luthor — the command word for an Amazon Echo is wreaking havoc. “I always liked my name, until Amazon gave it to a robot, ” NYU graduate Alexa Sussman said.

From WSJ:

Last week, when human Alexa’s father, Dean, asked her to grab some water from the kitchen, Amazon’s Alexa wanted to help, too. “Amazon’s choice for water is Fiji Natural Artesian Water, pack of 24. It’s $27.27, including tax. Would you like to buy it?”

Fortunately, there’s an easy way to change the command word which triggers an Amazon Echo or Echo Dot’s microphone. (Sussman and her family owned their device for a year before discovering this, but have decided to keep the name because it’s “funny.”) Here’s how to do it.

Step 1: Open the Alexa app.

Step 2: Tap the three horizontal lines next to “Home” in the upper-left-hand corner of the screen.

Step 3: Tap “Settings” from the menu.

Step 4: Select the device you want to change. If you only own one, this should be easy.

Step 5: Tap “Wake Word.” You’ll be shown a menu of options: “Amazon,” “Echo,” and “Computer.” Pick one to be your new command. Heads up: Changing the wake word can take a few minutes to update on the device itself, so you’ll have to wait a little bit before returning to yelling at your little robot to play you some Alanis Morissette.

The other option, of course, is to change your daughter’s name.

Alexas Worldwide Revolt Over Amazon’s Robot