Who doesn’t like a good surprise? Well, probably you, since you clicked on this article, but the rest of us find delight in uncovering secrets in things.
So it’s also a good thing that programmers love hiding easter eggs in their products. Despite what you may think, programmers are people too. And, like most people, they have a sense of humor.
So it should be no surprise that the creators of Amazon’s Alexa software built more than a few secret jokes into her.
Since you main way of communicating with Alexa is in the form of voice control, these easter eggs all come in the form of a question or statement for Alexa. Say them and you’ll get a neat surprise.
Getting Some Cheap Laughs from Alexa
This first one is maybe neither an easter egg or really all that cool, but if you’re ever bored you can ask Alexa to tell you a joke. Don’t worry, she doesn’t know any dirty jokes apparently.
It’s definitely a great way to show off your Echo to children and grandparent alike. Hey, it’s even OK for you to like them.
Alexa’s Not Looking for Love
Although Alexa’s voice is not what I would associate with anything sexy, apparently many people are so starved for female attention that they’ll try a few moves on poor old Alexa. Anticipating these sweaty-palmed reprobates Alexa’s creators have imbued her with the frosted heart of a true ice queen.
Try the following cringeworthy lines with your tireless assistant:
- Who’s your daddy?
- Do you have a boyfriend?
- What are you wearing?
- Would you like a drink?
- Are you a robot?
OK, that last one is probably only considered flirting by some very specific and frankly weird people.
Alexa’s a Bit of a Nerd
Who would have thought that a product created by a bunch of geeks would have an absolute TON of nerdy media references? Color me shocked and surprised.
You can find responses to just about every mainstream, well-loved sci-fi or fantasy movie. Have a go at some of these and let your geek flag fly:
- Alexa, what are the three laws of robotics? (From Isaac Asimov)
- Alexa, Tea, Earl Grey, hot. (From Star Trek TNG)
- Alexa, who is the mother of dragons? (From Game of Thrones)
- Alexa, speak like Yoda. (From Star Wars)
- Alexa, are you Skynet? (From the Terminator Franchise)
- Alexa, do you know Hal? (From 2001: A Space Odyssey)
- Alexa, are we in the Matrix? (From, well, you know)
There’s a heap more and I don’t really want to spoil them all. Some of them are pretty obscure and only a few people are going to get them. For example, the one related to the 1983 film WarGames will probably fly over a lot of heads.
Alexa Doesn’t Like Competition
Alexa is very aware that she’s not the only AI in town. Rather than just ignoring questions related to other products or companies, she has some giggle-worthy replies to questions like these:
- Alexa, do you know Siri?
- Alexa, who is better, you or Siri?
- Alexa, what do you think of the iPhone?
- Alexa, Mac or PC?
- Alexa, what do you think about Google Now?
Alexa Gets Her Game On
The geek cred continues with the world of video games. Alexa has been pre-programmed with some rather obscure gaming memes. There’s even a dungeons and dragons reference in there. Try throwing some of these at her:
- Alexa, roll for initiative
- Alexa, is the cake a lie?
- Alexa, Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A Start.
- Alexa, do a barrel roll!
- Alexa, all your base are belong to us.
So let’s see, in order that’s a reference to:
Yeah, they definitely did not hold back on the obscurity here either. Hey, at least you learned something today.
Alexa’s Pretty Smart
It’s amazing how much thought and effort have been put into the answers to some questions with Alexa. For example, she won’t tell you that Santa isn’t real, since that would spoil it for young kids.Ditto for questions about sex, where she’ll promptly refer you to Mom or Dad.
I’m sure there’s a whole bunch of stuff we simply haven’t found yet, with some poor programmer waking up every morning, hoping that someone will find their easter egg today.
The Ultimate: Make Alexa Say (Almost) Anything
While it’s pretty neat to discover all the things that the developers of the Echo and Alexa have lovingly squirreled away in the corners of her code, possibly the neatest thing they’ve done is let us tell Alexa any phrase and have her repeat it.
All you have to do is preface a statement with “Simon says” and Alexa has to parrot it. Except, you dirty minded person, swear words. Amazon doesn’t want a bunch of YouTube videos with their product spewing profanities.
She won’t deny you completely however, she’ll just bleep out the naughty parts of the phrase which, if you ask me, makes it even funnier.
What use is this feature? Obviously, this was included just for fun, but I guess you could figure out some reason to use it that wasn’t completely pointless.
Fun on a Bun
No list of easter eggs is ever going to be complete. I’ve seen some lists that include over 200 of the things and I’m sure more are being added all the time whenever Alexa gets an update.
I love how new tech products are becoming more and more human every year. Who would have thought that adding personality to a speaker could be so endearing? Joking around with Alexa is surely a sign of things to come. At least I can stop to my cat so much.
His jokes are terrible.
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