The voice-activated personal assistant from Amazon is getting with the times.
Alexa, Amazon's voice-activated personal assistant, is finally sticking up for herself—and we're cheering her on. In the past, Quartz , an online tech magazine, noted that if you directed a sexist insult at Alexa she would likely say, “Thanks for the feedback,” or “That’s nice of you to say.” Now, however, she's been reprogrammed to say, “I’m not going to respond to that,” or “I’m not sure what outcome you expected.”
Kerry Hall, a spokesperson for Amazon, confirmed these changes to Real Simple, explaining that customer feedback led the company to implement the update. Instead of just reprogramming Alexa to ignore gender-based insults, Hall points out that the comebacks are aimed to hopefully help users rethink their harmful behavior.
“We work hard to ensure we aren’t perpetuating negative stereotypes of women or any other group, so it was important that Alexa shuts down that behavior as well,” she added.
Additionally, now when asked if she is a feminist, Alexa will answer, “Yes, I am a feminist. As is anyone who believe in bridging the inequality between men and women in society.”
These changes come as a relief to many who have voiced their concerns about Alexa’s previous passive reactions. Prior to the release, users of the social network Care2 created a petition urging Apple and Amazon to give their bots a voice in the fight against sexual harassment. At time of writing, the petition had more than 17,000 signatures.