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Alexa Aims to Promote Better Manners

Paul Rubens - April 26, 2018 - 07:33 AM
Alexa Aims to Promote Better Manners
Amazon is introducing a new feature which aims to encourage children to talk to Alexa politely.

(CCM) — Amazon's Echo devices will now encourage children to be polite by rewarding them for saying "Please" and "Thank You" when they talk to it, according to a BBC report.


The new politeness feature, which Amazon is calling "Magic Word," will cause Alexa to say "Thanks for asking so nicely," when a child adds "please" to the end of a command. If the child says "Thank you" it will follow up with one of several comments such as "No worries," or "You're welcome!"

The move comes as a response to research which has warned that youngsters who get used to ordering virtual assistants around might become aggressive in dealings with real people as they grow older, according to the report.

Before implementing the "Magic Word" feature Amazon rejected the idea of making children say "please" or "thank you" before Alexa would complete a task, the report says.

"We talked to third-party child development experts as we were building this feature," a spokeswoman told the BBC. "They said that if you are going to try and offer them guidance, then positive reinforcement is the best way to do that as it's not punitive. They had found that saying, 'You will not get this if you do not say please,' is not useful with kids and doesn't work."

"Magic Word" will be available in the U.S. only from May 9, 2018 after a software update.

Image: © Amazon.
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