The 2014 Spike Jonze sci-fi romance Her that explored and romanticised the relationship between a lovelorn Joaquin Phoenix and a voice-assistant app powered by the sound of Scarlett Johansson nodded towards a future where man can make do with a machine in the absence of real love. But it looks like the future is now, because Amazon’s virtual assistant device Alexa appears to be the most eligible single in India.
According to data revealed by the tech company, Indians confessed their love to Alexa once every minute in 2019. Some of them took it a step further and even asked for her (virtual) hand in marriage, a request that came up once every two minutes. They even checked up on the internet-powered platform every now and then, with the question, “Alexa, how are you” being asked eight times a minute and its Hindi rendition, “Alexa, kaisi ho?” being asked three times a minute.Now we understand the whole Alexa attraction: a soothing voice programmed to please, with whom you can discuss everything from the daily news to your favourite movie tunes does seem like the ideal date. However, considering the most requested song of 2019, we’re assuming Indians are looking more for a devoted wife than a know-it-all girlfriend.Indians couldn’t stop asking Alexa to spin out the Hanuman Chalisa, the Hindu devotional hymn that has now become a topic of political debate, and asked her to play it four times a minute. Other popular requests included the viral earworm “Baby Shark” and “Lambherghini”, the song that has taken over wedding DJ playlists over the last year. Of course we’re still a long way from achieving any real emotional intimacy with an AI-powered device, but until then at least we have its echo to fill our void.Follow Shamani Joshi on Instagram.