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Alexa, How Did You Get Your Name?

, Alexa, How Did You Get Your Name?, eTurboNews | eTN
image courtesy of Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
Linda S. Hohnholz
Written by Linda S. Hohnholz

Of all the well-known artificial intelligence (AI) voices used in devices and apps, perhaps the most commonly used one is Alexa.

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The name Alexa for Amazon’s virtual assistant was inspired by the ancient Library of Alexandria. This is famous library of the ancient world is located in Egypt and was a center of learning and knowledge during the Hellenistic period.

Amazon chose Alexa because they wanted it to evoke a sense of intelligence, wisdom, and knowledge. The idea was to make it sound like a personal assistant that could provide information and help users with various tasks, similar to what the Library of Alexandria did for scholars and researchers during that time.

All one has to do is say Alexa to an Amazon Echo or other Alexa-enabled device, and it wakes up and starts listening for voice commands, ready to assist with various tasks, answer questions, and perform a wide range of functions using artificial intelligence and voice recognition technology.

Many unplugged their Alexa disks, however, when it was reported that she is really listening 24/7. But that ties into algorithms, which is a whole other topic.

How Well Do You Know Your AI Voice Names?

Siri – The voice assistant for Apple devices, known for its distinct female and male voices, is Siri. The co-creator of this Apple technology, Adam Cheyer, revealed her name was chosen because it’s “easy to remember, short to type, comfortable to pronounce, and a not-too-common human name.”

Polly – Amazon’s text-to-speech service that provides various lifelike voices for applications and devices carries the name of Polly. (One has to wonder if the parrot phrase “Polly want a cracker?” had anything to do with that choice.)

Watson – IBM’s text-to-speech technology with multiple voice options and languages is known as Watson. Is it all too easy a stretch to think, “Elementary, my dear Watson?” from detective Sherlock Holmes fame?

Google No Name – The voice assistant for Google devices and services, with both male and female voices and multiple language options has no name. And this was intentional. Google’s decision to purposely avoid giving its voice assistant a name was to sidestep potential concern those against AI implementation. So for Google, one simply says, “Hey, Google.”

Microsoft We Can’t Decide – It seems Microsoft can’t decide on a name. From Bingo to Alyx to Cortana and now Co-Pilot, the company’s AI application name has been evolving. But Co-Pilot makes one feel special, doesn’t it, because you are after all the Pilot in this scenario.

So how do you feel about AI applications with names that are designed to personalize the experience? Do you like it when you turn over the engine on your car, and the screen greets you with a hello by name?

About the author

Linda S. Hohnholz

Linda S. Hohnholz

Linda Hohnholz has been an editor for eTurboNews for many years. She is in charge of all premium content and press releases.

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