The more Alexa-enabled devices you buy, the less able you become to perform the simplest of tasks.
Why do anything when Alexa can do it for you?
Why push a button when you can say: "Alexa, push that button for me"?
This is, perhaps, the life you've always wanted. Telling a robot to tell an inanimate object to do your bidding might, for some, be the apogee of human achievement.
Still, when I look at the array of allegedly useful objects Amazon presented today, I find myself not ululating to Alexa -- I won't have her in the house -- but to the heavens.
Do I really need a $30 wall clock to tell me what timers I have set?
Or is this a splendid example of Amazon showing us how much we'll enjoy being infantilized beyond hope?
A clock on a wall that explains to us at every second just how much our own thought processes can't be trusted, so if you want to know what you've just done, stare at the wall.
I was, though, especially moved by Amazon's new microwave.
In presenting it, David Limp, senior vice-president of Devices & Services at Amazon, claimed that the user interface of the microwave is "stuck in the 1970s."
The company's solution was to create a microwave from the 1980s.
Please, just look at the design. Nothing says modernity more than (bad) retro. Nothing says Amazon more than cheap, ugly-looking things that besmirch your house like that one neighbor whom you really don't like, but don't know how to tell her.
Ah, but the difference here is that you can tell your microwave to begin nuking your organic potato.
Because pushing a button or two is far too taxing and your mani-pedi practitioner insists your fingertips are showing a little too much wear and tear.
This Amazon microwave is so useful that you can tell it to order more food supplies. Yes, from Amazon.
Let's face it, you got tired of your Samsung fridge trying to do it.
I'm not really sure this Amazon microwave is all that. I understand you need to put another device -- one of those Alexa-powered speakers -- near the microwave for it to work.
So it'll take two gadgets to do what one of your fingers can do. Actually, I'm not even sure that's right. Can Alexa open and close the microwave door? She certainly can't put the organic potato inside the microwave.
I know this is the beginning of a bright future in which we're enveloped by technologies that will parent us through every step of our lives.
I know, too, that many people will buy these things and feel very clever when guests come for a dinner party. (Alexa will have surely suggested the menu.)
I still find it sad to think of all the information that will be transmitted back to Amazon HQ, information that will form the basis of further enveloping.
One day, your microwave will sprout legs on demand, walk to the fridge, take the ingredients out, prepare a lovely meal and bring it to your coffee table.
Mind you, when it walks into your living room and sees you watching Netflix, it'll tase you.
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