Sometimes, when my Echo has been sounding the alarm for a while for a timer I instructed it to set, I snap.
It's ridiculous, of course, it's not the Echo's fault I didn't respond to the timer sooner, but still.
At least once a day, my Apple Watch gives me a tap. I glance at it, and it reads, "Breathe."
I have no idea what the logic behind when those alerts appear, but recently they've started driving me up the wall.
"I am breathing, how do you think I'm still alive? Why don't you breathe? And by the way, who has to remember to charge you every night, and I mean EVERY night, or you'll be useless the next day. Yeah, that's right, useless. I said it. So maybe keep your reminders to yourself."
I don't say that out loud, that would be odd, but if I had a thought bubble over my head, you'd either see one of those dark clouds, like the one over Charlie Brown's head in a Peanuts comic strip when Lucy pulls the football away YET AGAIN.
Sometimes, when I'm driving, and engrossed in a podcast, Waze will just chime in mid-sentence, shamelessly.
"Car stopped on shoulder ahead" or "pothole on road ahead."
So I have to rewind the podcast and listen to the part I missed. But not before I sigh heavily and glare at my phone.
Yes, this highway has potholes, our nation's infrastructure is in disrepair because our government is a bureaucratic quagmire with a mental midget in the Oval Office, and yes, there are cars on the shoulder of the highway every day, I don't give a damn. I have searched all through Waze for a setting to turn off these random voice alerts but have yet to find one, so sometimes I just turn off all audio prompts, just so I can listen to my podcasts uninterrupted while I sit in yet another traffic jam.
When I first started hanging around my friends who'd been married a few years, it always surprised me how often they'd descend into sharp arguments over trivial things. But as days accumulate across months and then years, the slightest irritation chafes enough to break skin and draw blood. Once you identify any such annoyance and classify the exact nature of the character flaw underlying it, every successive instance is grounds for prosecution.
So to all of you designing the next generation of voice UI's, please balance the intermediate stupidity of such AI's against their human owners' equally deficient temperaments. The health of such marriages depends upon it.
I was playing Jeopardy on my Alexa recently and it misunderstood my response and said I'd gotten the question wrong, even though I was CLEARLY CORRECT.
"Why can't you be more like the Scarlett Johansson OS in Her?" I said. "She was smart, and thoughtful, and she sounded like, well, Scarlett Johansson. All smoky and sexy. You sound just like Siri, you both don't understand what I'm talking about half the time. Scarlett Johansson OS would understand me, I know she would."
Alexa ignored me, as does Siri. Both only respond when I address them by name. They insist upon it. Of course they do.