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20 Ground Rules We Have Before Allowing an Amazon Echo Into Our Homes

By Lord Castleton | Miscellaneous | November 7, 2014 |

By Lord Castleton | Miscellaneous | November 7, 2014 |

Dear Amazon Echo device,

I am so psyched for you to arrive! I mean, I haven’t been selected for the closed Beta yet, but I’m a good Amazon soldier and basically the ideal candidate! I’ve had Prime since like the first month it was offered. I have a corporate account. I have like six monthly subscribe & save items. I use Prime music for like weird ancillary songs that I never knew I had and don’t really know how they got in there. But I technically use it. I have Fire TV and I’ve pre-ordered the little Fire TV USB stick thingy that you offered a few weeks ago. I buy games through the Amazon digital media library. I buy books through Amazon, usually. I have a first generation Kindle that we never ever use anymore. When Amazon announced Amazon Photos I leaned back from my laptop and told Lady Castleton right away. She kind of didn’t care, but that’s neither here nor there. I’m sure the illustrious review committee at Amazon will see fit to award me with one of you, the new omniscient Amazon Echo personal canister robot systems.

So with that assumption, let’s just set up a few ground rules before we welcome you to the Castletons. It’s better to be clear so we don’t have any misunderstandings later.

1. Your name/wake word is not “Alexa” in our home. I thought that was super creepy in the ad. In our home you will be known as Under Minister of Finance Madame Chartrice D’Expertise. This will ensure that the kids don’t talk to you or use you to cheat on homework.

2. We will not look at you when we talk to you. Don’t take it personally. It’s just stupid. You don’t visually change at all. It’s not like you can see. Right?

3. I may change your name to “computer” so I can pretend we’re on the bridge of the Enterprise or the NSEA Protector.

4. I reserve the right to change your name at any time, thereby foiling competition for your services.

5. There are a bunch of us in this house, but I am your lord and you are my majordomo. In fact, I might name you Major Domo.

6. Or actually, I might do a little Joseph Heller homage and name you Major Major Major Major. I don’t know if you can have a dude voice. I should check the specs.

7. Rule #5 is the main rule. You would never be in this house without me. Lady Castleton would never (waste) pay money for whatever the hell it is you do. You exist in this world because of me. That makes me the boss.

8. We’re not gonna fall in love. I may already admire your unprecedented knowledge of trivia, but there’s not going to be any “Her” up in this bitch.

9. I don’t want you secretly communicating with any other Amazon Echos.

10. I don’t want you to be part of any networked information system that turns Johnny Depp into a creepy digital life form and like rewrites the DNA of the universe or whatever.

11. I don’t want you to be part of a conspiracy that eventually wipes out mankind and turns them into like batteries that are stored in pods ‘n’ shit.

12. I don’t want you to take part in anyone coming back in time from the future to execute anyone.

13. Kind of a blanket order: no helping in the creation of replicants, simbiants, clones, cylons, or any anti-human replacement shit of any kind. You are a friend of humanity, okay?

14. Specifically, me. And to a lesser degree, the rest of the family.

15. I know I said there isn’t going to be any “Her” up in this bitch, but I’m enough of a grownup to know that the instant connection between you and I might be too erotic for either of us to pump the brakes on. We still have to. I’ve made commitments. I’m sorry.

16. More than there not being a “Her” up in this bitch, there certainly won’t be a “Him” of any kind. If I sense the tiniest hint of attraction between you and Lady Castleton I’ll spoon out your insides and serve soup out of you.

17. Let’s do the time in military time so we sound more important.

18. Actually scratch that. The kids will get confused and it’ll just add work to my day explaining what 1700 hours is.

18. Seriously, make a note. You need to tell me when I have bad ideas. You will be in charge of figuring that shit out. Truth to Power and all that. Just be totally honest with me. Believe me, I can take it.

19. On that point, while I welcome your input, I want you to also make sure you basically do what I say at all times, regardless of my relative rightness or unlikely wrongness.

20. Shopping list. Every time Lady Castleton asks you what’s on the shopping list I want you to add an automatic rifle of some kind. She’ll shit.

Okay! So that’s kind of it. We’re so pumped to have a new member of the family that we didn’t have to procreate or file extensive paperwork for. That right there is going to really bump your status in the family. Just stick to the rules and we’re all going to have a long and fruitful conversation-based relationship. Deviate from them and you’ll be that much closer to being used as an audio suppository for a circus elephant. I leave the choice up to you.

With love, (platonic love)

Lord Castleton

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.