First of all, I want to say that I consider myself a simple man.
I've never described myself as a "tech guru" and I've never owned the latest iPhone model. I'm also that guy who made fun of people wearing those dorky Google Glass things (Snapchat's new glasses aren't much better).
I didn't get excited when the new MacBook released.
But I've recently really enjoyed voice AI technology.
Alexa, from Amazon to be specific.
The technology is still relatively new, but Alexa is as close as we can get to a robot assistant like Tony Stark's Jarvis. Using voice, my Echo Dot can do a lot of cool things that I'm about to explain in this post.
So the way it works is this: Alexa is a listening device, that when you say "Alexa", she activates and you give her a command to do something. Developers can build "skills" on Alexa like apps, or they can use IFTTT to automate their smart homes.
That means you can set the temperature and turn your lights on or off by voice. In the future, I predict that you can set a morning alarm to the sequence of:
- the blinds being opened
- soft lights turned on
- wake up music to start your day off
- automatic coffee brewed
- weather read out to you
- start a daily stretching routine
That is going to be so cool.
I haven't tapped into every cool skill that Alexa has so far (many are buggy to be honest), but I'd love to share my favorites.
A lot of people I know are intimidated by meditation. "Like, do I just sit there? And how long do I wait?" Well with Alexa, you can go through the sequence of telling Alexa to put on "nature sounds", setting a timer for 10 minutes, and getting on with your meditation.
It's completely natural and I don't have to look at a bright screen in the morning to time it out.
2. Alarm Clock
I didn't really get into prioritizing my sleep until a little while ago. I always set a morning alarm (which is easy to do with Alexa), but I NEVER set a "go-to-bed" alarm. I set mine for 5 minutes before I want to go to bed to give me some leeway. It makes a world of difference that I can stop my alarm clock with my voice.
3. Schedule and weather
Weather is one of those things that you only need as you leave the door. No one wants to open their phone, click the weather app, and scroll to the weather. Why not just ask Alexa, what the weather is today? So much easier.
You can also connect your Google Calendar or iCal to Alexa and have her read off the first few things on your schedule. Perfect motivation to get out of bed. She can also schedule things to go on your calendar, but I find it a bit inaccurate.
4. Right music at the right time
When you have to study: "Alexa, play study music."
When you want to workout: "Alexa, play workout music."
When you want to get it on: "Alexa, play Rebecca Black songs."
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On top of all of these things, you can ask Alexa for pickup lines, jokes, and play trivia with her. She can lead 7-minute workouts and read bedtime stories as well. I predict that Alexa will be the backbone of a lot of tech in the next 5 years.
Why not grab an Echo Dot when it's $50 a pop? Join the future. Get one here on Amazon.*
*This is an affiliate link.