As weeks of lockdowns and stay-at-home cautions drag on, our rising stress levels are making us dream bizarre dreams, feel scatterbrained, and generally taking a toll on our collective mental health that was fragile even before we were smacked in our faces by the pandemic. But while some of us are turning to our loved ones to fill that void over Zoom calls or channelling our horniness by endlessly swiping on Tinder, it turns out, quite a few of us have also started fancying Amazon’s Alexa.
According to a survey conducted by sex toy company We-Vibe, 28 percent of people admitted to lusting after the e-commerce giant’s AI service through its Alexa-enabled Echo speakers. One in every four of the 1,000 users the sex toy company talked to admitted to relying on Alexa—and her soothing computer-generated voice—to cope with the pandemic-induced loneliness. Users said they liked communicating with her as it was nice to have someone to “talk” to in the lonely lockdown, and that some of them had helplessly even started lusting after her. But, what is it about Alexa that has turned people on?
Experts say that it is the smooth quality of her voice that gives people the hots for her “Alexa has been set up to sound very reassuring and calming,” said relationship expert Sarrah Rose to The New York Post. “But it has that low, sexy tone. People associate a sexy voice with low tones to it, and her voice has that. That can be part of what’s turning guys on and making them attracted to her.”
That is not all though. Her signature smoothness goes beyond in establishing her as an ideal partner. “There’s intended neutrality to AI voices,” voice actor Kay Bess told culture magazine Mel Magazine. “AI voices don’t really have ‘an opinion’. Moreover, when you combine the following three things—a voice with soothing qualities, the neutrality of opinion, and a voice to whom you’re asking questions and can receive real answers without judgment—you’ve got the makings of a type of attraction.”
After all, what we often strive for in a relationship is a sense of acceptance and non-judgement—a partner who has a calm and soothing presence and would give us space to speak our minds. Add to it the mysterious quality of an AI and suddenly it makes sense why she can seem like the perfect “mate”.
But anyone who's interested in her “companionship” might want to tone down the dirty talk. In 2019, several ex-Amazon employees claimed that this e-commerce giant is listening to civilians through the device—with workers sifting through as many as 1,000 voice recordings per shift, hearing every racy bit you tell “her”. Just you, your AI device, and the Amazon worker invested in your conversation surviving doomsday together, I guess.
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