‘Hey, Alexa…’

19 June 2018 | Liz Bowen

Let’s be honest, the first six months of 2018 haven’t been the best for Amazon’s Alexa. From creepy chuckles to sending a private conversation to pals, the headlines so far this year haven’t always been favourable.

Not that Amazon has been affected by the backlash in any way – it’s been announced that CEO Jeff Bezos is now the richest man in the world with $90bn, overtaking Bill Gates. Not too shabby at all…

But back to Alexa. After all the negative press, it was hard to think how she could redeem her reputation.

How indeed? Well, teaming up with another company on a worthwhile campaign is always going to earn you top PR brownie points, so step forward Stonewall.

The LGBTQ+ charity has teamed up with Alexa as part of its ‘Come Out for LGBT’ campaign. The three-year campaign, which first launched in September 2017, aims to rally support from the British public in response to new research that shows that UK hate crime against the LGBTQ+ community has risen significantly in the last five years.

For the latest stage, Stonewall has joined forces with Alexa in an attempt to increase education about the LGBTQ+ community. Working together, Alexa and Stonewall have created an LGBTQ+ ‘dictionary’ – when asked a question about the community, e.g. “what does transsexual mean?”, Alexa’s answer will be directly informed by Stonewall.

Similarly, if a person asks the device “am I gay”, Alexa will point them in the direction of Stonewall’s support resources.

They say that knowledge is power, so it’s unsurprising to learn that the partnership is aimed at empowering those who want to speak out in support of the wider ‘Come Out for LGBT’ campaign, but are nervous of saying the wrong thing.

Overall, this is a great partnership. With so much negativity in the media these days, encouraging people to positively speak out in support of any community – and how best to do that – is a wonderful remedy to the headlines.

Alexa’s involvement is key. For a device that aims to enhance communication and empower people to learn more by asking questions on all kinds of topics, ensuring the answers are as informed as they possibly can be to benefit a targeted community is a fantastic idea.

Speaking out on any topic is always nerve-wracking, particularly if you are worried about saying the wrong thing so this campaign is sure to ease some of those concerns and help people fully get behind the LGBTQ+ community.