Naming your daughter after a voice assistant isn’t catching on — in fact, just the opposite has occurred. Since 2015 when Amazon introduced the Echo smart speaker with its now ubiquitous “Alexa” wake-up command, the incidence of newborn girls named Alexa has tumbled, Recode reports.
In 2015, Recode says, 6,050 baby girls were named Alexa. According to statistics from the Social Security Administration analyzed by Philip Cohen, a sociology professor from the University of Maryland, 33 percent fewer parents — just 3,883 — named their baby girls Alexa in 2017. The name dropped from 311 of every 100,000 baby girls in 2015 to 207 per 100,000 female babies in 2017.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos told the world how the name for Amazon Echo device’s cloud-based voice assistant originated in 2016 during a public interview at the Washington Post’s Transformers Conference, USA Today reports.
Bezos said he and his friends pretended to be Star Trek characters, playing in their elementary school years. A talking computer crew members addressed as “Alexa” in the Star Trek series was Bezos’ inspiration when the time came to decide on a name for the Echo voice assistant.
Amazon launched the Echo in 2015, followed by the Echo Tap, Echo Dot, Echo Show, Fire TV Stick with Alexa, and Fire Tablets with Alexa. Now a seemingly endless array of Alexa-enabled devices compete in an ongoing high-stakes voice assistant competition. In a world where an increasing number of people address their televisions, clocks, phones, lamps, as well as endless numbers of Dots, Taps, Echos, and Shows as Alexa, parents are less inclined to use the name for baby girls.
Apple’s voice assistant Siri, accessible on iPhones since 2011, has had a similar effect on baby girl name, though the numbers of girls named Siri are much smaller in the first place. In 2013, for example, six of every 100,00 girls born in the U.S., 120 in all, were named Siri, Recode reports. Cohen found that parents only named 20 baby girls Siri in 2017, a drop to just one per 100,000.
Odds are pretty good that few very babies in any country ever were or will be named “Hey, Google” or even “Google.” In a few years’ time, data may be available on the relative incidence of the name Bixby for baby boys, before and after Samsung released its own voice assistant.
With huge and deep pocket international giants Amazon, Apple, Google, and Samsung competing for consumer voice-assistant parlance fluency, the competition isn’t likely to slow down anytime soon.
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