Faced with the many mockeries and remarks endured by their little girl Alexa, parents are begging Amazon to change the name of her virtual assistant. They are also not the only ones to ask that the web giant rename its assistant, in favor of a “less human” name.
While some do not hesitate to call their children Twifia to win 18 years of free internet, others have to live with teasing and remarks every day since their first name became that of one of the most used virtual assistants in the world. world: Alexa. This is what the parents of a little Alexa tell our British colleagues from the BBC.
Since the popularization of Amazon's virtual assistant, the girl has been victim of daily harassment and abuse in college, from both students and teachers. “She started not wanting to show up anymore because of the jokes and the backlash. She was and still is a child, but adults thought it was okay to make fun of her. The school did not help her and told her that she had to develop her resilience,” Alexa's mum told the BBC.
Little Alexa now suffers from significant psychological problems, and faced with her distress, the parents made a meaningful decision: legally change their child's first name. “She's in a much better place now. We cut ties with her old “friends” and enrolled her in a new school to give her a fresh start. Injustice will never leave her, nor will we. Amazon needs to change the default wake word on its devices. It is clear that there has not been enough ethical research on the use of the name Alexa”, assures Alexa's mother.
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Alexas around the world are angry with Amazon
UK, 4000 people under the age of 25 are currently named Alexa, and some of their relatives told similar stories to the BBC. “It started at the reception. Older kids would say things like Alexa, play disco. The other boys understood him and shouted orders to him”, says Charlotte, mother of a little Alexa.
Of course, this problem is not limited to Alexa in the UK. Lauren Johnson, originally from Massachusetts in the United States, launched a campaign called Alexa is Human. “My daughter Alexa is now 9 years old. All of this goes way beyond “normal” teasing and bullying. It's identity erasure. The word Alexa has become synonymous with servant or slave. It allows people to treat people with the name Alexa in a slavish way,” she explains.
For its part, Amazon said it was “saddened by the experiences” that have been shared and recalls that “bullying of any kind is unacceptable, and we condemn it in the strongest possible terms”. On the other hand, Amazon specifies that there are other activation words like Echo or Computer, suggesting in passing that a name change is not really on the agenda.