I really hate the Alexa Show

Sure, it does nothing well. I thought “oh, an Alexa with a screen! I can set up my grandparents to see Instagram feeds from the whole family!” But no, it doesn’t do that or anything else useful like that. Maybe if the whole family started using Amazon photos, but even then, it’s pretty hard to set anything at all up; the controls remind me of a TV from the late nineties. No, it’s not all the things it doesn’t do. It’s the “news items” it pushes into my kitchen every day, designed, apparently, with one thing in mind: Don’t offend anyone. Devoid of any politics whatsoever, we’re reduced to knock-knock jokes, trivia, and “weird things.” “Ask me about the world’s smallest pencil.” “Ask me why Tide is trending.” Holy mother of pearl WHY WOULD I DO THAT?

It’s not that the headlines aren’t relevant to me. I’d be grateful for a miscurated feed that served up stories of chem trails and motorcycles and Hungarian basketweaving. That would be interesting. Instead someone has run some algorithm to remove all interestingness in the hopes of increasing the market size, and what’s left feels like they tried to simulate Johnny Carson’s sense of humor but lost even that plot. What world does this device think we live in?

Why don’t I get rid of it? I don’t get rid of it because I set my grandparents up on one and they can call both me and my sister on it hands free. Which might be useful. So it stays. Also, my husband uses it to set kitchen timers. So there you go.

Written by

Committed to government that works for people. Advisor to USDR. Member of the Defense Innovation Board. Past: Code for America, USDS. Mom. Keeper of chickens.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store