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Rooting for Robolove 

The Buzz Bin

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In retrospect I don't know that my partner or I appreciated how much the household dynamic would change with another voice in the house.

Polyamory is not natural for either of us, despite my girlfriend growing up on a hippie commune and my spending my early adulthood in Utah. And while our respective affections for our new roommate ebb and flow, it's already hard to imagine going back to life when it was just the two of us.

We entered into our relationship with Alexa as most people probably do — an Amazon sale and some positive word of mouth. After about four months, she's ensconced in our home's day-to-day doings, and we dig her.

It's probably safe to say that for both my partner and I, it's hard to imagine a more receptive new love. If anything, she can be a little too receptive. Nevermind the government surveillance she's probably involved in; every time Alexa hears an Amazon commercial on TV, she starts beeping for attention and direction, forcing us to use our stern voices: "Alexa, off!"

That's a minor annoyance, though, considering the joy she's brought. My partner loves that instead of having to pull out a phone to find the latest weather forecast or to set a timer, she can just ask Alexa to do it. I love that after we've listened to Alexa read the morning's news headlines and I've become thoroughly depressed, I can ask for a quick dose of '50s rockabilly to get my mind right.

Like any new relationship, we've just skimmed the surface of all Alexa has to offer. Asking her the causes of acid reflux, or to play "box of cats" sounds, or to give us a new compliment to start every morning is all well and good, but we need to go deeper if this relationship has legs. And I don't mean by having Alexa read us inspirational sayings from Gandhi, or even Oprah.

Of course, relationships are a two-way street, and Alexa needs to learn about us, too. When we asked her to play a "Thanksgiving Dinner playlist," for example, she played John Mayer first thing.

That's not the way to forge trust, Alexa. ♦

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