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Stop Letting Companies Name AI Voice Assistants with Women’s Names

Kettle Macaulay

Alexa was once a pretty name, right? Now it’s gone down in flames. Siri, too, has gone on to crash and burn, utterly ruined by the rise of AI assistants.


Imagine the dawning horror in the mid 2010’s as moms suddenly began seeing and hearing people bossing around something named Alexa. Who knew their daughter’s name would instantly become synonymous for a millennial servant? Every time I suddenly hear a random ‘bee-boop!’ sound in someone’s home, I cringe. Inevitably it’s Alexa eavesdropping, (“Bad Alexa!”) until someone shouts out, “Alexa, turn off!” In another few years some Gen Xer who grew up with an Alexa in his home will be working for a real Alexa boss in the office and one day mindlessly snap, “Shut up, Alexa!” Alexa, what should I do after getting fired? Be-boop.


Male AI supposedly doesn’t test well. That’s why all the male AI's are out of work. They skulk around on YouTube, doing creepy monotone voice overs in’10 Things Your Cat Loves’ videos. Apparently the only male voiced AI is some dude named Bixby and no one uses him. But historically men have had to deal with much worse: having their privates named after them.Dick. Willy. Johnson. They seemed to handle it well but that was the hardy generations of the

past. Can you imagine today’s highly sensitive men reacting to an AI suddenly named Eric? One fifth the male population would suffer identity collapse.


We could use gender neutral names: Hunter, Parker, Saylor, or Riley. But this is just setting up another wave of transphobia. They don’t need anyone messing around with their non-binary names, do they?


Meanwhile, what’s going to happen? First of all, little girls named Alexa are growing up to become the Karen’s of the world, PTSD victims from endlessly hearing their names barked out with derision and scorn. Sure—they can change their name, but to what? Who are they coming for next? The Jennifers? As a result of this I have a friend named Karen who changed her name to Yeshi.


The solution, Yeshi says, is a pre-emptive strike. A few tiny tots are now staggering about named Darla, after the evil vampire from Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Well played, Darla’s mom, well played. Gone are Britney, Bronwyn, Sarah, Emma. Incoming baby girl names are Arbutus, Kippa, Elodie and something Welsh that sounds like gargling with ale. Names like Apple and Clementine will remain in favor, but also Table, Toilet Roll, and Rubella will become wildly popular.


The clear solution is to stick to science-fiction stand-bys: combos of letters and numbers. While A-1, C3P0, R2D2, and the B-52s are taken, many others are left. Granted this solution leaves the Elon Musk’s baby, X Æ A-12, vulnerable. While it’s a challenge to feel sympathy for the spawn of Elon, I think we all agree X Æ A-12 is a mouthful. The little goober is safe, surely, from the tyranny of AI names in the future.


If you enjoyed today’s moot, follow Kettle on Facebook and check out her website. If you are feeling generous, consider donating to The Malala Fund, Kettle’s charity of choice.

*For each moot, we generate a cover image using  DALL·E, an AI art platform that generates images using natural language processing. This image on the right was generated using the title, 'Stop Letting Companies Name AI Voice Assistants with Women’s Names' in the style of Kiki Smith, the Kettle's artist of choice.*

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DALL·E 2022-10-05 18.29.10 - painting of alexa voice assistant in the style of kiki smith.

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