Category Archives: shopping

Is Alexa Making us Stupid?

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How smart is Alexa? Not very. In fact she might be helping to dumb down an entire generation.

Alexa’s main source of information is Wikipedia. As a college professor I caution my students to check their sources. Wikipedia may be a useful starting  point for information, but it is often not accurate, shows only certain sides of an issue and does not cover all topics well. Students are not permitted to cite Wiki as their main source in may college courses.

Is Alexa smart? I asked her a few questions as a test.

Alexa, can you access Google Scholar?

  • “Go to the help and feedback section of the Alexa app.”

Alexa, what is the first article title in the latest issue of the Journal of Marketing?

  • Alexa makes a short tone only

Alexa, what is the impact of global warming on the state of Florida?

  • Here’s something I found on Wikipedia…

Alexa, what are the last 10 questions that someone asked you.

  • Sorry, I don’t know that one

Alexa, what are your terms and conditions of usage?

  • Sorry, I don’t know that one.

Alexa, can you explain the meaning of the song “Hotel California?”

  • Sorry, I don’t know that one.

The only saving grace at this point is that Alexa provides the source of her “knowledge.” However as we well know, the terms and conditions of service change per the whim of the company providing services. Ultimately if Amazon no longer feels that sourcing data is helpful to the business model it can stop at anytime. There are absolutely no protections for users by the government.  As such, giving up privacy for a device that plays you songs may not be a great bargain.

This blog covers how to teach social media marketing and accompanies the text “Social Media & Mobile Marketing Strategy from Oxford University Press.

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