Terry Dickson: Smart houses not quite smart enough – Florida Times-Union
It’s a brave new world and it’s almost biblical considering we can speak things into existence or at least into action. But it is not all good, I fear.
We have these new devices, Alexa and Google Home, that come with the promise that our wishes are their demands. And we don’t even have to say please.
You can call on Alexa to turn on the lights, lower the blinds, lock the doors and do all sorts of other things if you live in a smart house. I do not. My house is as dumb as the box of hammers carpenters used to build it back in 1968.
I suppose Alexa and Google Home would at least let me turn on the TV without spending 30 minutes turning over sofa cushions, looking in jacket pockets and under furniture to locate the remote.
In fact, that would be my first command: Alexa, find the remote, and if you happen to find the keys to the shed …
There are other possibilities but you have to be careful.
Take the adult man who says, “Alexa, dim the lights and play some Righteous Brothers and Barry White.”
He might get a reply from a human being who doesn’t understand the intent.
“My name is Gina, and I’m not your slave. You turn it on and while you’re up, get me some aspirin. I’ve got a headache.”
Here are some other commands I’d like to give that Alexa couldn’t fulfill, not yet anyway.
Alexa, get me a blackberry cobbler recipe that tastes like my grandma used to make.
Google, write a homespun column for me, and make it funny. But not too funny otherwise the readers will catch on.
Alexa, watch my golf swing and tell me what I’m doing wrong. I need 25 more yards off the tee.
Alexa, walk the dog and take along a plastic bag. And don’t go by old lady Culpepper’s house. You know how she is, her and her 16 stinking cats. It’s fine for her cats to use our flower beds for a comfort station, but let my dog drop. … Never mind. I’ll do it.
Google, show me the final play of the Alabama-Clemson game again. It just gets better.
Alexa, why did you forget my anniversary? Order a dozen roses and get dinner reservations before she gets back from the grocery store.
I’m thinking there could be a language barrier, although I hear Google recognizes a variety of accents. But just to be safe we need a version for Southern men.
Bubba, get me a cold ’un and play me some Hank startin’ with “Your Cheatin’ Heart.”
Bubba, order me some glass pack mufflers for my mama’s pickup truck for Mother’s Day.
Bubba, kill them far ants that throwed up a mound beside the mailbox.
You can be certain that other companies will begin offering their own versions.
Here’s some advice: If they name one Hal, send it back.
If you don’t know who Hal was, ask Google.