Amazon, the multinational corporation that always has humanity’s best interests at heart, has added a new feature to Alexa to help users get better at small talk.
All you have to do is say, “Alexa, help me small talk,” and the robot voice will start spouting tips like “Ask follow-up questions. Like a good tennis match, a good conversation flows back and forth,” or “use your surroundings. Topics for conversations are all around you.”
Amazon’s press release regarding this new feature claims that over half of Americans (so I’m assuming the stats would be similar in Canada) fear starting conversations with people they don’t know. This is what prompted Amazon to reach out to the author of the book Small Talk Hacks, Akash Karia, to give some tips.
It’s good knowing that these small talk tips are actually coming from the mind of a human who’s specialized in the field instead of the Alexa team, but I still can’t quite put my finger on why it’s so unsettling to me. There’s just something about a robot voice teaching humans how to be human that doesn’t seem quite right.
Still, I guess this is all part of the plan to help Alexa become the ultimate voice assistant and this likely isn’t the last time a smart assistant is going to unsettle me.