Alexa, Can You Hear Me?

By
Real Estate Agent with RE/Max Associates DE#RA-0003085 PA#RS347136

I’ve grown accustomed to her. She’s in the other room, waiting and listening. Her name is Alexa and she caters to my musical wishes. She can do far more than that though, as I’ve learned from encounters with her outside my home.

At a friend’s house, I saw how he has put her to use. “Alexa, change the lighting to blue” and voila! She does just that. “Alexa, lights off” and the room goes dark. Alexa can do many things, including ordering things for you because she was born at Amazon. In order to place those orders, you have to let the system link to your finances.

So this morning, after showing a house, my clients were so excited about the property that they told me they had brought a deposit check with them. They began to talk about what to offer for the house. I told them I didn’t think there was a surveillance system in the house but that it might be better for us to go outside and talk in the driveway just in case. My client said that she had, in fact, seen an Alexa in the basement.

 

I laughed and proceeded to tell them (in the foyer, as we were exiting the house) about my friend and how the system changes the color of his lights and how she can even access his bank account, so you have to be careful. I laughingly ended with, “You can say, ‘Alexa, put grapes on the shopping list’ and she’ll do just that.”

And that’s when I heard the voice emanating from the basement.

“I put grapes on the shopping list.”

Oh no! I did NOT mean to actually have someone’s Alexa listen to me. Thankfully, I had not actually ordered something.

We exited the house and I called the listing agent to inform her of what had occurred. Her assistant was grateful that I had called but laughed because that was a first for her.

It was a first for me, too, but it shed a light on a few things.

a Be careful what you say in someone else’s home, especially when you are on tour.

a Advise your Sellers about the potential for someone to activate their AI systems.

a Consider asking Sellers or Listing Agents to have Alexa immobilized before their house is shown or you happen to be the one showing it.

I’m grateful that the other Realtor and her assistant found it funny. I’m still laughing but I’m also reminded that every day in this business, I learn something new.

And I’m thinking I might be bringing some grapes to Settlement.

 

Comments (3)

Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Monica - even for those households without access to Alexa, it does seem someone is always "listening".  

Sep 20, 2020 08:23 PM
Monica Hill

It certainly seems that way, Michael. A bit... scary. 

Sep 20, 2020 08:25 PM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Monica I hate Alexa... it is reporting to China directly... many of my clients love her... I just bite my tongue... Give me another alternative... or no alternative is better than Alexa...Endre

Sep 20, 2020 09:33 PM
Monica Hill

There's no middle ground with her. I think we have to be aware of her though, as we can become unwitting accomplices if we're not careful. 

Sep 22, 2020 09:30 AM

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