Amazon’s smart assistant Alexa can now be made to encourage children to say: “Please,” and: “Thank you,” when issuing it voice commands.
The new function addresses some parents’ concerns that use of the technology was teaching their offspring to sound officious or even rude.
In addition, parents can now set time limits on when requests are responded to, and can block some services.
The move has been welcomed by one of Alexa’s critics.
In January, the research company ChildWise published a report warning that youngsters that grew up accustomed to barking orders at Alexa, Google Assistant or some other virtual personality might become aggressive in later dealings with humans.
“This is a very positive development,” research director Simon Leggett told the BBC.
“We had noticed that practically none of the children that we had talked to said they ever used the words ‘please’ or ‘thank you’ when talking to their devices.
"Younger children will enjoy having the added interactivity, but older children may be less likely to use it as they will be more aware it’s a robot at the other end.”
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Alexa wants children to say please
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