By Marie DeFreitas
Up until now to distract from arguments the options were offering food or drink, going for a walk, or playing a game. Now by simply saying “Alexa, change the subject” the AI-powered device will try to spark a new conversation with questions like “Is Die Hard a Christmas movie?”
Other options include: “What superpower would you want and why?”,“Who’s your celebrity crush?” or even have Alexa crack a joke. It also includes questions on whether or not jam or cream should be added to a scone first.
Research conducted by the online retailer found that at roughly 6:30 p.m. on Christmas Day is the time when most family arguments seem to start. Now with Alexa’s new ‘distraction technique’ the device can be used to intervene.
The ‘Change the subject’ feature is available on any device that has the Alexa voice assistant including iPhone and Android smartphones with the Alexa app installed. To enable this feature simply locate the ‘Change the Subject’ button in the Amazon Alexa App and enable it using your voice.
A survey of 1,500 British families conducted by Amazon revealed that money is the most popular issue amongst family disputes, and also the one that most families are likely to fall out over. Besides this, what to watch on television and simple bad behaviour were also on the list. Of the individuals surveyed about 13 per cent said that they usually share a funny video in order to calm things down, and 14 per cent will go so far as to break into song or dance. About 43 per cent revealed they spend most of Christmas time biting their tongue or simply walking away if an argument looks like it’s about it erupt.
Amazon’s research found that most families spend about an average of 75 hours together over the Christmas period, and that arguments are most likely to break out between siblings or with mother.
Alexa is also equipped with other features to diffuse a tense situation. Users will be able to ask for festive facts such as why we eat turkey on Christmas Day, how Santa fits down the chimney and how reindeer fly. Alexa can even sing a Christmas song to help defuse the tension.
With this newly added feature Alexa can save the day and help avoid family disputes.