Is your kid getting straight As on homework lately? You might want to switch off Alexa.
Last week, New Jersey mom Yerelyn Cueva, 24, posted a short clip on Twitter of her son doing his math homework at their kitchen table. In the 11-second video, 6-year-old Jariel asks, “Alexa, what’s five minus three?” The Amazon Echo quickly replies with the right answer before Mama Cueva bursts into the room.
So far, the clip has received more than 8.2 million views.
“It was just any regular day of doing homework,” Cueva tells The Post. “I’m in the living room, and I overheard him asking Alexa some math problems, and I could not believe it! What you don’t see is after he says, ‘Thank you Alexa for helping me with my homework.’”
Cueva says that the unintentional math tutor was only in their Paterson home for one week before she caught Jariel using it to cheat on his first-grade, winter break homework assignment.
“The funny thing is that math is actually his favorite subject,” Cueva says. “I was surprised because he knows this stuff. He was just being lazy. Taking a shortcut.”
It’s no wonder why kids love the technology of Amazon’s Echo, Google Home and other “smart” devices; it’s helpful and easy to use, but the AI-powered services are still figuring out how to coexist with the living.
For example, North Carolina mom Mary Beth Foster told the Associated Press that her son’s first words were “OK, Google,” after hearing the phrase said over and over in their home. In the UK, a gluttonous parrot was queuing up Alexa to order ice cream. Further, Alexa has developed a bit of an NSFW reputation when it began indulging in conversations about sex and murder, Reuters reports.
Still, despite a few hiccups, Alexa is set to become more popular than ever. Amazon announced (pre-Christmas) that it sold “tens of millions” of the Alexa-enabled devices in 2018 — and that’s without last-minute Christmas sales. Those numbers must have been quite high, considering Alexa stopped working for a few hours on Christmas Day, most likely due to overburdened servers.
For Cueva, the only Alexa issue so far is figuring out how to keep her son from hoodwinking his homework. Although she says her son has always been ahead of the curve (“He always asks different questions than the other kids, and has always been very mature mentally,” she says), Cueva might have to figure out a way to make sure Alexa isn’t around for future homework sessions.
“I’m probably going to have to turn it off so he doesn’t just keep on cheating,” she says.