A teenager has had to change her name legally and transfer schools because of the constant bullying by her schoolmates because of her name being linked to Amazon’s AI assistant.
According to Business Insider, the teenage girl’s parents previously named Alexa reported to the BBC that their daughter was constantly bullied throughout high school, not only her classmates but also her teachers contributed to the verbal abuse.
The girl was just one of several Alexa’s whose parents spoke out in BBC’s “The Jeremy Vine Show” by saying just how much their children have suffered as Amazon’s assistant became more and more known throughout the world.
One of her parents said she started not wanting to introduce herself by name because once it happens, the jokes start piling up.
“She was and still is a child, yet adults thought it was OK to make a joke of her. It’s devastating,” she continued.
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Backlash and Movement’s Against Amazon’s Wake Word
The name Alexa has been synonymous with households by now.
They are contributing to the success of Amazon’s assistant, making life easier for most families. However, it isn’t the case for the families who have named their daughters Alexa.
Movements such as Alexa is Human started as Lauren Johnson, a parent from Massachusetts, started a campaign.
She said, “My daughter is nine now. The whole thing is a step beyond ‘normal’ teasing and bullying. It’s identity erasure. The word Alexa has become synonymous with a servant or slave.”
Johnson continued saying that for older children, Alexa jokes can be more sexual in context. The issue doesn’t only encompass children but also adults.
One Alexa living in Hamburg, Germany, suffers from her name in her professional and private life.
She says that whenever she does a presentation during work, someone immediately comments as soon as she says her name. She ended her grievance by saying, “I think it’s ethically unacceptable that a brand can hijack a human name and ultimately change its meaning. My name is my identity.”
Amazon Feels Bad
Amazon was disheartened in hearing the stories of people worldwide being shared in regards to bullying and profiling by the now popular device.
The company has said in a statement saying that they are remoseful over the experience that many of the netizens shared and said that they condone bullying by any and all means as strongly as ever before.
Amazon also said to use an alternative wake word such as Alexa to use Echo, Computer, and Amazon The tech giant also said that they value any and all feedback in regards to everything they do and are looking for ways to better improve the selection of words that people can use instead of the widely known wake word.
The mother of the teenager who recently had to change her name said that her daughter is in a much better place now and has had to cut off her friends and move to be given a fresh start; however, the injustice will never leave the family.
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Written by Alec G.
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