Echo dot problem
After bullying: family changes their daughter’s name to Alexa because of the Amazon speaker
A brand hijacks a woman’s first name and triggers that women with this name are bullied. Thousands of Alexas around the world have to get commands like “Alexa, turn off the lights!” listen – and fight back.
Parents in countries like Great Britain, the USA or Germany defend themselves against Amazon whether it has taken the name Alexa. Alexa is the name of Amazon’s voice assistant, which, for example, is a cone-like loudspeaker called “Echo Dot” in many apartments. If you speak to him as “Alexa”, he reacts and answers questions or carries out commands. In Germany, the name was still one of the most popular girls’ names in 2002, according to the “Popular Given Names” portal, but since the introduction of the voice assistant in 2014 the popularity of the name has been falling rapidly and is no longer even among the top 1000. There are reasons why because many people with the name Alexa are bullied with their name.
“She didn’t want to introduce herself to others because of all the jokes”
Many people with this name have to listen to jokes on an ongoing basis, for example by being addressed as the loudspeaker. The BBC talked about it with a mother whose daughter is downright abused by other children and even adults: “She didn’t even want to introduce herself to others because she had heard so many negative reactions and jokes. She was and still is a child and yet adults think it’s okay to joke about them. It’s devastating. The school wasn’t helpful either and just said it had to be more resilient. “
The BBC reports that it was so stressful for the daughter that they ultimately decided to change her name and send her to another school: “Injustice will never leave you and us. Amazon has to use the standard wake-up word on his devices. Clearly, there wasn’t enough ethical research into using Alexa. ” There are also other names to which the loudspeaker reacts: “Echo”, “Amazon” or simply “Computer”. However, these are rarely advertised.
Amazon speaks out against bullying and regrets the incidents
Those affected therefore spoke out on Amazon in favor of completely changing the name of the voice assistant to a “non-human” name. Amazon responded with a dismayed statement: “We designed our voice assistant to reflect qualities that we value in people – being intelligent, considerate, empathetic and inclusive. We are saddened by the experiences you have shared, and.. want to be very clear: bullying of any kind is unacceptable and we condemn it in the strongest possible terms. “
Other people, on the other hand, refuse to discard their names despite comparable experiences. An Alexa from Hamburg calls on the BBC: “Fight for your name. It should be Amazon that is withdrawing, not us.”
swell: BBC / Popular Given Names
This article originally appeared on stern.de.