Minkewicz Vision Paper

Sarah Minkewicz

New Tech for New Media final paper

The Rise of Alexa 3000

It’s the year 2050 and if you think you could pick up a newspaper and coffee and be on your way you’re wrong. Not that you would mind much anyways because people haven’t been reading on paper for quite some time now. Besides was it ever really efficient to carry both your coffee and a paper while walking and reading? Probably not.

Every one and everything uses technology and with Alexa 3000 that’s all you need.

The first model came out a few years ago, and at first I was unsure if I wanted to make the investment in one. Amazon was still working out some technical problems with the model, and to be honest it was a little out of my price range. Total cost of $1,000 and you had to pay an annual fine of $150 a year for software updates. It all seemed excessive to me. However, more and more people were purchasing them. So I made the investment.

Morning routines are typically planned out with a specific schedule. Watching or reading news stories in the morning can help people catch up with the latest stories and add talking points throughout the day, but the opportunity to sit down to absorb the news is something that busy Americans cannot afford and this is where technology comes in.

Contrary to the iconic, traditional image of the average American family sitting down to eat breakfast together, mothers and fathers are busier than ever and in this day and age unrealistic. Morning is not the time of day when people browse through the newspaper or have a living room discussion about current events; morning is an overload.

Responsive AI devices, such as Amazon’s Alexa 300, brings the news back into one’s morning with no real delays or changes to the typical morning routine, and I’ll talk about the consequences of this a little later.

These devices can load and display top stories and current events with a simple, “Show me today’s news” command. Amazon’s Alexa 3000 can even play audio recordings of news stories or live streams of some news services.

Convenience is key with Al, and these devices are certainly convenient for the hectic schedules of most Americans.

So your probably wondering how any of this is even possible? Well, Alexa 3000 uses sensors to track EVERYTHING. What people are saying and when they’re saying it, and what news is going on the second it happens. Eliminating any news job that ever was. We no longer turn on the T.V. if a natural disaster occurs you can turn to Alexa and ask her what’s going on and she will give you a full report right then and there. Most importantly it’s accurate. With all this debate about fake news, Amazon thought it was important to invest in technology that would eliminate this stigma that comes around with sharing information. They nailed it. Unfortunately they took my job out in that process. Did I forget to mention that’s why I didn’t want to invest in this technology?

I never thought a piece of technology would be able to effectively tell stories the way newsmakers can. After all, a T.V. reporter has to interview, shoot and write most news stories. But this technology allows Alexa 3000 to already see everything that’s happening and capture it. The technology is even able to get interviews with those involved in the events and stories, most of whom are willing to talk anyways. Many of them expressed relief in talking to a piece of technology then a person, because like almost everyone, they also owned an Alexa 3000.

As I mentioned before, this technology provides a service that people can rely on for information. However, relying on that convenience impacts journalism in traditional media sources. If someone chooses to consume news stories through an AI service in the morning, that individual may decide not to turn on the local news station after returning from work. Moreover, continued reliance on an AI device’s service may breed familiarity and fondness for that specific style. Similar to how people may grow to love their station’s news anchors and reporters, Alexa 3000 is now that fond, familiar voice–ready to report on the latest news at any moment the user requests it. If you didn’t grow up with this type of technology, you might find yourself like me and think this whole thing is weird. However, it’s now the norm and something even I have to get used to.

Let’s switch gears and take a little bit about how this technology functions. So when you want to know something you basically ask Alexa 3000 and she projects all the information for you in a virtual screen that you can interact with. Here you’re able to read articles, watch news stories, and see what others on social media are saying. We no longer need the service of a reporter or journalist, and because of that those jobs and mine are no more.

I’ve considered working for the giant corporation Amazon, but I’m so bitter about how everything turned out I’m not sure I can. Plus I would have to go back to school and learn a whole new skill set. I’m torn.

So here I am jobless, and clueless. Others have found the transition to be a smooth one, Mainly those working in the government and technology. Those two go hand in hand nowadays. There are even laws being passed that force you to own an Alexa 3000 otherwise you can face multiple fines and jail time until you do. One for each household, that’s the rule. Crazy to think that something that started as a feature to help male like become more simple would turn into something that’s more involved in your life than anything else. The argument is that it makes life easier, and yes it does, but when is it too much? To have technology listening to your every word and following your every move and not having control of that is toomuch in my opinion. There’s even an Alexa 3000 in public bathrooms!! I mean come on that’s over kill. I mean it knows when you’re in the bathroom at home so I suppose it’s not different. What information can you possible gain and use from that? To each their own I guess.

The other day I was having a conversation with my mother about why she favors Alexa 3000 and she made some valid points. She needs help getting ready in the morning, and because Alexa 3000 is a full on person pretty much, it’s able to help my mom get dressed and ready for the day. It also helps my mom with grocery shopping and balancing her checkbook, weird concept right? These small tasks take a lot of pressure off of my mom who sometimes can’t remember where she left her car keys. Oh did I mention Alexa 3000 drives my mom to the store as well. I guess without this technology my mom would have to relay on her children and family members to help her with these basic needs. This is something her children can’t do for her because everyone of her five children live in different countries and aren’t able to move because of their jobs. That I can get and I agreed with her, and just for the record I was in town visiting so don’t think of me as someone who can’t help my own mother… Even though now that I’m unemployed I can… Alright maybe I should rethink some life choices. All in all though she’s pretty comfortable with her set up and I think at this point she’s very used to it. I could always ask her if she’d want my help but I think she’s turn my offer down giving me some reason that the technology is more efficient and can do anything I can do better and faster. She’s most likely right about that. Even my own Alexa 3000 runs my errands that I either don’t want to do or find I don’t have enough time to do myself. Who am I to argue with my mom about something that even I do myself? Seems kind of pointless because with all the points she made, she’s very much right. We are all reliable on this technology to get us through the day and without it we would feel completely lost.

I can see this technology continuing to take over more and more careers. As well as completing every day tasks effortlessly. While I see the benefits to investing in this technology I can’t help but miss those days where we as people were more independent and worked for many of the things we wanted. Where we took the time to research what was going on in the world and come up with our own opinions and conclusions. Not have a piece of machinery constantly feed us information that we have to take at face value because we don’t have any other choice. We were once thinkers and innovators and go doers and that’s been washed down quite a bit. Is efficiency worth it if it means sacrificing those basic human instincts to be curious and learn more? I don’t think so.

This concludes my rant. I’m going to go job hunt now.