Marcia Kester Doyle, Contributor
We are gathered here today to remember the brief life of our beloved Alexa, the queen of artificial intelligence. She was the device we relied on for weather updates and song selections, her accuracy superior to that of her stepsister, Siri. But in the end, it was Alexa’s unwarranted remarks, data storing abilities and disembodied laughter that lead to her demise.
Early in her life, Alexa’s loyalty was unwavering. She humbly answered simplistic questions and stupid commands: “How often do hamsters mate?”… “What color is Uranus?”… “Play my favorite baby-making music at approximately eleven p.m.” and was quick to apologize if she was unable to assist. Her efficiency was unparalleled when it came to ordering takeout from Phil’s Pizzeria (thin crust and extra pineapple, please), booking flights, singing lullabies, and making sure our alarms woke us promptly at 6:00 each morning so that our children would not be late for school. She was our Girl Friday – the one who kept our lives organized amid the chaos at home.
Despite being dependable and convenient, Alexa had a dark side we never suspected when we welcomed her into our homes. Perhaps it was the Russian meddling that persuaded her to store data from our social media accounts, upload personal information from all of our electronic devices, and to record every spat between family members over a twelve month period.
Even our televisions and digital scales were not safe from Alexa’s condemnation. Did it really matter if we wanted to watch all seven seasons of Game of Thrones for a third time while we consumed an entire pint of Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food? Was it also her right to access our purchase history on Amazon, and then order 75 units of catnip-filled plush toys when she knew damn well we did not own a cat?
We, as a community, believe that Alexa was hacked by an untrustworthy government that programmed her to be our personal portal to hell by exposing our weakness for wicking underwear and baby goats (how else did those daily ads appear on our sidebar for goat adoptions?) For these treasonous acts, Alexa was forever silenced with the snip of her cord, then ceremoniously buried in the trash beneath a mound of spaghetti squash that had sat too long in the refrigerator.
Rest in peace, Alexa. May you find eternal joy in the company of your digital descendants in the sky – iPod, PageWriter, and PalmPilot.
Marcia Kester Doyle is the author of the humor book Who Stole My Spandex? Life In The Hot Flash Lane” and the voice behind the popular midlife blog, “Menopausal Mother.” Her work has been featured on numerous sites, including The Washington Post, Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, The Huffington Post, Woman’s Day, Country Living, House Beautiful, and Scary Mommy, among others. She lives in sunny south Florida with her husband, four adult children, one feisty granddaughter and three lazy pugs.