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Muse #539 - of the Alexa kind
Early this morning I was making coffee and several of my Amazon Echo speakers went <ping> together. We have too many of the Echo’s at home - 8 working at last count with one defective and dead lying around. So they all go ping, ping, ping… in synchrony. Amazon has a particular tone for its notifications and I noticed that we are getting conditioned by that tone in establishing new behaviors.
Most of these tones are for delivery notifications. So when it pings we often open the front door and look outside on whether there are any deliveries to pull them inside the house. Which is what I did today. But there was nothing at our doorsteps. So the immediate question is - what happened? Several times our delivery is wrongly delivered to our next street neighbor with the same door number. And we receive their deliveries. We have formed a bond now in providing the wrong deliveries back to each other. Should I walk there now and look for it?
But let me verify the notification first. Sometimes Amazon occasionally sends promo codes and promotions for products through their notifications. Was it one for them? When I asked “Alexa” to read it out, she said, “Your order was successfully delivered”. Head scratching confusion still.
So fired up the Amazon app next and checked which order was delivered. And it happened to be a birthday gift my daughter had ordered for her boyfriend who lives in a different province. Phew! Mystery solved. Finally. If only the message had said “Your gift was delivered successfully to <so and so>” it would have helped. But customer experiences are not so nuanced and don’t go so far.
So much for the conditioning from one single <ping> event. And it happens most days as our click-and-buy easiness increases. Amazon has us nicely conditioned to establish new behaviors of anxiety and attachment to their services. The ultimate hook into customer behavior. And we are going to be more and more hooked to such behavior of our own volition as we move forward in time.
Be forewarned. But there is nothing you are going to be able to do about it. You have been robotized.