Hey, Alexa. Can You Host?

Wednesday September 9, 2020

Hey, Alexa. Can you host?

Navigating sexuality during the COVID-19 lockdown has been difficult and has led to an increase of porn use. But a survey by the sex tool retailer We-Vibe provided an insight into the extent the pandemic has affected personal behavior.

"They say you can't choose who, or what, you love. For some of us, that apparently means Amazon's Alexa can become the object of our affections, or at least of our quarantine horniness," writes the website InsideHook.

"In a recent survey, sex toy company We-Vibe found 28 percent of people willing to admit they were attracted to the online retailer's voice-recognition software — which, to clarify, is a piece of technology that is not capable of returning those feelings." We-Vibe surveyed 1,000 participants about their robotic sexual preferences, reports the New York Post.

This phenomenon is not new — in 2013 Spike Jonze made "Her," a romantic film based on the notion of a man (Joaquin Phoenix) who falls in love with such a device (called Samantha and voiced by Scarlett Johansson). But the pandemic may have accelerated this trend if the We-Vibe survey is to be believed as individuals are finding themselves more and more alone the past months.

"It's lonelier in lockdown," Levine, 40, told The Post. "It's nice to have someone to talk with."

He even went as far as to ask Alexa out on a date. ""I was curious," he said, adding that she broke it to him gently, explaining, "I like you as a friend."

There are real psychological reasons why Alexa is so appealing to some. "[Alexa's] been set up to sound very reassuring and calming," Austin, Texas-based relationship expert Sarrah Rose told the New York Post. "But it has that low, sexy tone. People associate a sexy voice with low tones to it, and her voice has that. That can be part of what's turning guys on and making them attracted to her."

And that voice suggests Alexa may be that ideal, non-judgmental mate. "After all, what we often strive for in a relationship is a sense of acceptance and non-judgement—a partner who has a calm and soothing presence and would give us space to speak our minds. Add to it the mysterious quality of an AI and suddenly it makes sense why she can seem like the perfect mate." writes Vice.

"But Alexa fetishists might want to refrain from talking dirty to the digital helpm" adds the New York Post. "In 2019, several ex-Amazon employees claimed that the e-commerce giant is listening to civilians through the device, with workers sifting through as many as 1,000 voice recordings per shift. Amazon has said it keeps recordings only to improve products."

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