Amazon’s personal assistant, Alexa, is getting very sophisticated since her debut in 2014 and it has many skills that may not be too apparent. The problem with Alexa is that she will listen to anybody – whether it be answering questions or taking orders. That is what a Dallas, Texas couple found out when a 4-pound can of sugar cookies and a $160 KidKraft Sparkle Mansion dollhouse arrived at their front door. After some investigation, they discovered that their 6-year-old daughter had inadvertently order the items with a conversation she had with their Amazon Echo Dot.
When her mother questioned the young girl, she said, "I was talking to 'Alexa' about a dollhouse and cookies." The mother uses the Neitzel Amazon App to monitor what is said through their Echo Dot, and she explained that her daughter said, “Can you play dollhouse with me and get me a dollhouse?” After Alexa had confirmed the order, the daughter politely said, “I love you so much!” They are keeping the cookies as someone started eating them, but the dollhouse is going to be donated to an underprivileged child or a charity.
The parents have now activated the parental controls, and if anybody wants to make a purchase, they have to type in a four-digit code. The kids have been lectured about Alexa’s future use and are back to asking its some knock-knock jokes. They were allowed to ask it about Santa Claus as Alexa will now track where the big man in the red suit is located on his quest to deliver toys around the world.
Alexa is so much more than an assistant to tell you where a black bear lives – it can actually help guide you on your way to work with traffic information by asking it, “Alexa, how’s the traffic.” Hungry when you are out and about but don’t know where to go? Just ask Alexa, “Find me an Italian restaurant nearby,” and she will start running through the names. How many times does a song come on and you have no idea who sings it – just ask Alexa, “Who sings this song?” She will give the title of the song and the name of the artist. Alexa will even play music for you, but you have to specify from where or she will default to Prime Music. You can have Alexa create shopping lists, find recipes to make with your ingredients. You can also control your lights and thermostat or just about any Internet of Things (IoT) in your home.