Vancouver, BC—Collapsed onto his couch and massaging his forehead, local copy editor Finn Eltringham is processing the revelation that all the conversations he thought he was having with his pet parrot were actually with his Amazon Echo.
The discovery occurred Wednesday after he got home from work.
“I came home, and I noticed Lexi had pooped outside of her cage again,” Eltringham says, referring to his parrot. “I don’t know how she does that.”
Eltringham picked up the cage and moved it to a counter in the kitchen so he could clean the table it had been on. That’s when the discovery occurred.
“When I came back into the living room, I yelled back toward the kitchen, ‘Lexi, how was your day?’ like I usually do. She usually says something like, ‘I like to think it’s only beginning’ or ‘Pretty hopping here on the Internet,’ and it’s kind of a nice way to interact when I get home from work. But this time when I heard her respond, I realized the voice was coming from the same room, not from the kitchen where Lexi was.”
He looked over and saw the Echo light up around the rim while it talked. He asked another question, and again he saw the lights respond while it spoke.
“I always thought it was so neat that Lexi had mimicked the Alexa voice so well,” Eltringham bemoaned. “Now it makes sense why.”
Eltringham says he had forgotten he even owned an Echo, and didn’t even realize it was still plugged in.
“I didn’t want to believe it. I went into the kitchen and tried to get Lexi to talk for 20 minutes. I fed her treats, showed her all her toys, but she wouldn’t talk. Because she can’t. She never could.” Eltringham then burst into tears.
Amazon released a statement concerning the incident.
“We are thrilled to hear that the Echo has been such an integral part of a customer’s home,” the statement begins. “We aim for the Alexa assistant to have the most fluid conversations possible.”
Eltringham has lost no love for Lexi, but the revelation is nonetheless difficult.
“She’s still a great bird, even if she can’t talk,” Eltringham said while feeding Lexi a cracker. “Maybe we’ll start over. I’ll just have to teach her from scratch. Lexi, do you want a cracker?”
From the other room, the Alexa assistant responded, “I’d love one, but I’m sensitive to gluten.”