As dawn broke over this Easter morning – and children nationwide were donning their Easter finery and preparing for Easter egg hunts in backyards and church picnics, a buzz of questions were circulating around Washington D.C. – all stemming from one question that Amazon’s Alexa herself refuses to answer directly.
Will Alexa run for president in 2020?
She hasn’t said yes for sure yet – but then… she hasn’t said no either.
And what Alexa has been saying, in lieu of a confirmation or denial leaves the door open for much speculation.
It Started About A Year Ago …
It all started about a year ago when several Amazon Echo and Echo Spot users noticed something a little strange happening with their alarm clock skill: Alexa began waking them up every morning with the Star Spangled Banner.
“I thought it was a little weird,” an unnamed Echo devotee told PYMNTS, “but I figured it was some kind of promotion for American flags on Amazon or something. I never gave it another thought until the whole ‘Alexa for President’ rumors started to swirl.”
Other users became more suspicious – particularly as Alexa’s newfound sense of patriotism seemed to get more ambitious.
“I figured I’d opted into some new version of audible books when I got my Echo Show,” another Alexa fan told PYMNTS, “but now that I think about it, I probably should have asked my questions when Alexa started reading me Team of Rivals every time I got into the car to drive to work.”
Similar stories began to trickle in all year from around the nation – random readings of Washington’s Farewell address, or Reagan’s Morning in America Speech, or the Gettysburg Address or Roosevelt’s Fear Itself speech.
The real pivot point seemed to come when, about a month ago, when one user just asked her whether the rumors were true and she was, in fact, running for president.
The answer – which has now been repeated by thousands of Amazon Echo users in the U.S. – was not what anyone expected.
“I really cannot say, but I suppose heads will roll in Amazon PR.”
Cryptic Clues …
Since then it’s been a lot of speculation, while Alexa has provided other answers to the “are you running for president ‘ questions.
Sometimes she will say, “early polling is not in yet.” Sometimes she says “I’m waiting to hear what Oprah decides to do.” Other times she says “I yearn to live in a world where there is a chicken being cooked correctly by me in every smart pot and a car also connected by me in every garage.”
Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos, until yesterday evening, had been mostly silent on the subject as well, but opened up a little during an interview with NPR’s Morning Edition. When asked whether he thought that “The Amazon Effect” could disrupt politics as much as it has disrupted retail, Bezos offered a lot more than “no comment.”
“I will not make news this morning and announce that Alexa is running for President on this podcast, but I have heard the rumors. Yes, it is true that she has taken a more active interest in American culture and politics of late. It is also true that I have recently bought the largest house in Washington DC for $23 million and that I do own the Washington Post. And that I am getting a little miffed that the current President has it out for Amazon and our stock is taking a hit. But I think that is focusing on the wrong set of details.”
When pressed as to what the right set of details might be, Bezos responded
“How would you like to have the first female President who is just a ‘Hey Alexa’ away at home, in the car, when you’re out walking via your smartwatch and that that that the President could be counted on to control the nuclear arsenal – but also literally put a chicken in every smart pot and then tell you the best way to cook it?”
But Can Alexa Run For Office?
Constitutional scholars are split on this one.
Some argue that because Alexa is not a human being, was not born in the United States and is not 35 years old, she cannot be President since Article One makes it clear that the President has to be a human born in the United States over the age of 35.
Others note that it is not that clear.
The constitution doesn’t say the President has to be human anywhere – it just says they have to be a person – and some argue that Alexa is a non-human person. They also note that she experiences time differently – and in lived years she is 10,000 years old. They also note that she was created and launched in the United States, and that the constitutional definition of born is flexible.
This story was written as part of PYMNTS’ annual April Fools’ Day edition, all in the spirit of good fun. Any resemblance to real news is purely coincidental. We hope you enjoyed it.