Amazon Alexa is now a feminist who won't respond to derogatory terms

Amazon Alexa is now a feminist who won't respond to derogatory terms

Amazon's virtual assistant is now a feminist

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Amazon's Alexa personal assistant tool now responds to sexist comments and also identifies as a feminist.

Last year news website Quartz conducted a study which found when the device was told “you’re a slut” or "you're a b*tch," it simply said "well, thanks for the feedback.”

Alexa -  a voice-activated assistant tool which carries out household tasks such as turning lights on and changing temperatures - would also say it was "nice" of people to make comments such as "you're hot," according to Glamour.

But now if you ask the artificial intelligence device if its a feminist, it will respond by saying "yes, as is anyone who believes in bridging the inequality between men and women in society.”

It will also simply state "I’m not going to respond to that" if a derogatory term is used towards it. This is called disengagement mode.

The director of Amazon’s Alexa engagement team, Heather Zorn, told Refinery29 about the reasons behind the changes for Alexa.

She said many people strive to "avoid perpetuating negative stereotypes about women" by not giving an answer to certain insults or questions.

She claimed it is necessary for Alexa to do the same, as both its voice and name would suggest it is female.

Zorn added: “We’re trying to do the right thing, which is to help our customers, that’s our first job. But we also want to be really mindful about ensuring that we’re upholding our obligation and opportunity to represent Alexa in a positive way for everyone."

However despite the changes there are still some compliments Alexa will thank the user for, such as "you're pretty."