Alexa’s Learning Skills: First Kids’ Skills, Now More Than XKCD On End
A new investigation has just revealed that kids are being taught valuable skills and knowledge by Amazon’s Alexa, and now schools are looking to regulate what children can access.
Many parents don’t know that Alexa has been around for a few years now and has grown from a novelty toy to one of the top internet services. Even now, Alexa’s best claims to fame are “Ask Alexa Anything” and “Alexa — she’s only 15%.” Thanks to her fascinating ability to answer every question in your favor, Alexa has been turning into a huge success.
But, Alexa is not just a girl who loves talk. At least, not all of her skills. The recent investigation led by The Daily Mail into Alexa’s mind has revealed that she’s been teaching kids how to play games like “ten puzzles a day”, “Alexa moves the machine”, and “Alexa — which is taller?”.
Smart enough to read my mind
Alexa can read all kinds of information right off the top of my head, and now, she can read stories for kids too. While using the skill, you can read passages from the likes of Dr. Seuss and read out-of-context quotes, which could be incredibly useful if you’re looking for answers to questions like “which city is Paris?” and “where do the twins go to bed?”
Other skills include allowing kids to make Skype calls, and all kinds of other things from making playlists to finding the year they were born. She’s also free to open music and video files, too, including any Amazon account, regardless of whether or not you are an owner. Alexa’s ability to react from your voice, even something as simple as saying “Alexa, play me one” has undoubtedly made her a huge hit with parents.
Not just this gifted product
But, the majority of Alexa’s powers have always been built-in. Even when Alexa has been activated, she never really transcends children’s service. What’s changing is the fact that Amazon are now offering parents the option to specify which skills children can use when using Alexa.
“An extremely rare customer has asked us to enable some content on Alexa for Kids that may not be appropriate for her pre-teenage age”
Amazon’s decision to expand Alexa’s age restrictions makes sense. “An extremely rare customer has asked us to enable some content on Alexa for Kids that may not be appropriate for her pre-teenage age,” says Amazon. “Safety is our top priority and we have worked with our experts to determine that it is appropriate to allow these actions in the Alexa Kids app.”
This is just the beginning
It won’t be long until Alexa starts to make her way into more mainstream territory, and that doesn’t necessarily mean adding a few more limitations. Amazon already have a range of accessories and devices designed to make the world smarter. Not only will Alexa see a lot more power when they start to show up, but more than likely we’ll also see Amazon start to use Alexa and Alexa-inspired products to sell everything from cars to ovens.
Not only will kids see more and more of Alexa and Alexa-shaped products over the next few years, it’s almost assured that the internet will see even more Alexa-related movies, cartoons, and language. This will inevitably make it even more difficult for parents to decide what’s right for their children’s delicate brain.
Understanding how to teach children is no easy task, but with Alexa on the verge of hitting the mainstream, it’s certainly going to be harder to keep tabs on her use. This is something that might even make me reconsider my young son’s ability to ask her questions. It is only a matter of time until parents are allowed to buy voice-based products for their children, which are bound to include those that are an extension of Alexa.
When these potential products start to make their way into supermarkets and grocery stores, we may find ourselves wondering if we’re teaching our children something other than how to learn to read their feelings.