The merging of Alexa and your Internet experience appears to be happening as we speak.
You know about the “Echo” by Amazon, similar to Google Home (which apparently you can buy at Target, which presumably does not have a similar device). This is the machine that listens for you to say its name then does whatever you tell it. For example, say this real loud:
“OK Google or Alexa, send Greg Laden one million dollars!”
OK, thanks. Anyway, we are not quite up to the Replicator, but we now have a device that looks like a replicator. It is the Amazon Echo Show, which is both an Alexa client and, perhaps, a tablet. According to Amazon:
Voice responses from Alexa are now enhanced with visuals and optimized for visibility across the room. Call or message your family and friends that also have an Echo or the Alexa App, get the news with a video flash briefing, see your Prime Photos, shop with your voice, see lyrics with Amazon Music, and more. All you have to do is ask.
Echo Show has eight microphones and beam-forming technology so it can hear you from across the room—even while music is playing. Echo Show is also an expertly tuned speaker that can fill any room with immersive audio powered by Dolby. When you want to use Echo Show, just say the wake word “Alexa” and Echo Show responds instantly.
I think we are seeing only the beginning of this instant gratification technology, and we are very far from understanding its full meaning. The instant gratification part is neither new nor interesting.
The interesting part is how we are going to handle having drones flying all over the place and devices constantly listening to us, and in the near future, watching us attentively and perhaps smelling or otherwise sensing us, trying to anticipate our consumer behavior in advance of the other watchers anticipating our consumer behavior.
Soon enough, it will be the automated nature of delivery, and the speed of deliver, that matters most. Rather than coupons arriving in the mail, actual object will be arriving, on approval, or for “free” but not fully functional without payment, at our doorstep, easily sent away, but maybe not so easily ignored. Like Jehovah’s Witnesses everywhere, but small and with four propellers.
Which makes me wonder. Does my cell phone dream of electric sheep?