“I felt like it slammed me in the face,” the parent of a child named Alexa tells Business Insider, when she began to notice just how relentlessly her child was being harassed about her name from kids and adults alike.
This isn’t just a bit of teasing, “this is a whole different level,” she said.
The problem is that Amazon chose a popular human name for its artificial intelligent software bot. And now the name “Alexa” has become synonymous with “servant,” another parent told Business Insider, which inspires adults and children to universally bark out orders, tease, joke and bully humans named Alexa, parents and adults named Alexa say. “If we had named our child Servant, we’d be all over the news,” the mum says.
Business Insider talked to half a dozen of parents and adults named Alexa and discovered just how difficult their lives have become since Amazon’s AI has zoomed to popularity. A teen discussed the sexual harassment she’s endured, which isn’t helped by headlines and product advertising that use double entendres, playing on Alexa’s female voice. Parents of a three-year-old felt forced to legally change the child’s name.
Another parent “made the financial sacrifice,” to place their daughter in a private school where teasing is not allowed, hoping to protect her better, Clark said.
One mother has been trying to raise awareness with a group called Alexa Is A Human and has reached out to Amazon with public letters and directly. But so far, their calls for help on the matter have fallen on deaf ears.