“Alexa, play ‘Afterglow’ by Taylor Swift. Alexa, what’s the score to the Jazz game? Alexa, what time does the Bombay House close? Alexa, is it supposed to snow tomorrow?”
Alexa is the epitome of technological convergence in today’s society. She has combined different types of media such as print, audio, and video into one junction. As Pavlik explains, Alexa has essentially “rendered earlier technologies obsolete and change[d] entire industries in the process.” This voice service offered by Amazon has become more ubiquitous throughout the nation and the rest of the Western World and still continues to grow. She eliminates the need for a CD or an iPod when countless songs are at her disposal. She eliminates the need for a newspaper when she possesses the latest news and trends. She eliminates the need for light switches, when her voice can control the intensity and power altogether. This applies to calendars, quick searches on a smartphone or computer, the local weather station, and much more. Essentially, Alexa is a talking database of information.
Apart from technological convergence, Alexa proves to also take part in cultural convergence. Thousands of people throughout the world own the voice service of Alexa. They share a common practice despite different lifestyles or cultural norms. Their requests or questions asked may vary completely, however, Alexa is designed for her knowledge to be versatile and widespread. She can be used for people of all ages. Alexa can assist Suzie with her math homework and remind Dad of his flight to London that leaves in two hours. With people of different ages, ethnicities, and nationalities, all using Alexa, she is assisting in the “globalization of media content” across the world.
Developers have created Alexa with many “skills” that allow her to assist her customers. Everyday, Alexa becomes smarter and smarter with new additions being added to her skillset. Consequently, Alexa also embodies economic convergence as well as technological and cultural. Pavlik describes this as “when formerly independent media enterprises further the success of one another because they fall under the same corporate umbrella.” Alexa – or Amazon pairs with other companies to enhance and further Alexa’s skills. For example, you can say, “Alexa please get me an UberX to work.” Or, “Alexa, open Dominoes and place my easy order.” Even, “Alexa, ask Capital One, what is my balance?” Similarly, Alexa’s voice is compatible with many products or companies not necessarily owned by Amazon. Things like a Blink home security camera system, a Philips Hue white and color ambience kit, a Honeywell Lyric thermostat, and more, all are compatible with Alexa’s voice service. In both cases, these companies are incorporated into Alexa’s skillset thus combining their businesses with Amazon’s. Both benefit.
Alexa offers interpersonal communication, group communication, and sometimes even mass. Her audiences differ and yet Alexa’s user friendly design makes “talking with her” simple and easy. Amazon continues to research and develop voice technology compatible with artificial intelligence. That is why, if Alexa does lose her voice, it becomes a bit of a problem because she possesses more information than any of us humans. If Alexa were to ever lose her voice, we would, like Jeff Bezos, ask “And you’re sure this is gonna work?” With the apprehensive, “yeah” that follows, we would soon realize that as good as Gordon Ramsey, Cardi B, Rebel Wilson, and Sir Anthony Hopkins are, they lack the “skills” that Alexa has acquired over the years.