Why I Say Please & Thank You...To Alexa & Siri

So, we are in a new era. An era where artificial intelligence is just beginning to make a daily impact on our lives.

Our children have grown up knowing this was possible while my generation watched movies like Terminator and thought it possible but weeellllll…

It was still a bit sci-fi.

Fun, but not in the realm of true reality for most.

Let’s call it futuristic.

But now, thanks to the pocket Siri who can answer your every Q (just about), open your apps and become your quazi-personal-assistant when you’re at your desk or on the go, the reality of AI is officially here.

Okay, I’m late to the party but come on… Terminator scared me.

In a great, suspension-of-disbelief kind of way. OMG, that semi truck! Nightmares.

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Now, Alexa, she’s my latest addition to the AI word as of this past holiday season, and we’re just getting to know each other.

Personally, she has it easy in my home and if she had human qualities, she’d likely be bored to death by my lack of using her for anything more than an occasional weather update, a notification message (now that I understand that’s what the flashing yellow means) and to play some music for me.

Asking either one to turn on lights, unlock my door or start dinner for me (kidding on the last… or am I?) is just a bit too much for me.

Perhaps it’s a matter of maintaining control...or more likely, a connection to my own humanity.

It’s funny, as while I had a Commodore 64 then a 128 as a child, (thanks, forward-thinking Dad), I tend to be late to the technology party.

I was late to texting, very late to purchase my first Kindle (and still love the feel of flipping a paper page inside the hard or soft cover of a good physical book), very late to utter the word “Siri” for the first time and now just jumping on the Alexa train...in it’s 3rd gen.

And yes, the year is 2019.

So, I’m slow to accept artificial intelligence as my new best friend.

But here’s what I’m not slow to do.

Thank Siri. Say please to Alexa. And maintain my humanity. For real.

Now that I write this I am reminded of the grandmother who typed a request into Google’s search bar and added her please and thank you.


Well, she thought a real, live, breathing person was on the other end of her request providing her page after page of instant answers.

It was so cute that media stations like the UK’s The Guardian, BBC.com, BusinessInsider.com and Time.com picked up the Human Interest story, especially when Google (smartly) reached out to her. [1]

Here’s Google’s response to what was innately natural for her - good manners.

Even Google’s official account tweeted about Grandma Nan.

Good manners aside, as they are a matter of personal choice, I love what’s now possible due to AI and robots and now that we are #blessed to be living in this time of such great achievement.

Side note: #hashtags still give me mental hives. But I’m working on it.

While people may laugh when I ask Alexa to please turn off the music so I can answer the Call Me On My Cell Phone ringtone that Siri so easily setup, I choose to find it normal.

When I say thank you to Alexa for actually turning off the music as I answer my Frenchman’s call, I am simply being someone who appreciates what’s now possible.

Much like the remote control, artificial intelligence can either make us incredibly lazy and gluttonous or it can add a layer of possibility to the impossibility.

My please and thank you is verbal appreciation for all that is now possible.

My please and thank-you-s are not just for Siri and Alexa but also uttered in gratitude for the amazing human minds behind these devices and those future AI projects to come, and the humanity they (I pray) embrace as they create our future...artificial minds.

Thank you.

References Used In This Fun Read.

[1] The Guardian.
[2] BBC.
[3] Business Insider.  
[4] Time.com.

Education Lady | Jill Stevens

Educator. Writer. Life Long Learner. Jill has a passion to help the next generation and improve learning across the board. She’s here to change the world, one mind at a time. Right now she does that through words with purpose and by training up remarkable, rockstar tutors.