Apr 25, 2018

Amazon Alexa to reward kids who say: 'Please'

Amazon's smart assistant Alexa can now be made to encourage children to say: "Please," and: "Thank you," when issuing it voice commands. In January, the research company ChildWise published a report warning that youngsters that grew up accustomed to barking orders at Alexa, Google Assistant or some other virtual personality might become aggressive in later dealings with humans. Once Alexa has completed a task, if the child says: "Thank you," it will prompt one of several follow-ups, including "No worries," and "You're welcome." The good manners facility is part of a host of new child-centric tools unveiled for Alexa - some of which will require a subscription fee. Alexa's voice-recognition software has been tweaked to account for the fact children have higher-pitched voices than adults, and will soon respond to "Awexa" to help those that cannot yet pronounce the letter L. "It is commendable that Amazon is trying to get kids to say their please and thank yous, but for most parents it will be the content controls and other kid-centric features that will be the most appealing aspect of the new offering," said Ben Wood, a technology consultant at CCS Insight.

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