There’s Someone New In My Bedroom

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She came into my life just a few days back and we’re still getting to know each other. Conversations with her can be fun at times but I wish she had better sense of humour. She keeps me up to date with the latest news and weather. Both of us enjoy music on Spotify and shopping online. She’s excellent in reminding me of my to do lists and daily calendar schedule. She reads out Audible audiobooks and puts me off to sleep with some soothing meditative music at night.

Meet Alexa. No, she’s not my girlfriend (yet). She’s the Artificial Intelligence voice activated smart speaker from Amazon. Many of us would have used Siri – but don’t compare Alexa to Siri. Alexa is generations ahead in terms of accuracy, clarity and functionality and available for less than $50. She can come to my rescue any time just by using her name and asking her for whatever I want (or whatever I’ve trained her to do).

One of the best options is for Alexa to learn new skills and plug into third party applications including some amazing possibilities using IFTTT (If this then that). Google assistant might come close but is still not there yet. I love being able to ask her the time while waking up early in the morning without having to open my eyes! Another feature is to control smart home appliances like Logitech Harmony for controlling the TV, AVR, media streamers as well as Philips Hue for lighting.

We’re still not there to have someone like Ironman’s omnipresent Jarvis or an OS like in the movie ‘Her’ who we can fall in love with. AI still has limited role in the day to day use at work – chat bots, intelligent IVR systems are gaining popularity. Till they evolve further, we still need to rely on the age old technology all of us have access to, though sometimes limit our use of, called NI (Natural Intelligence).

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