Trump's press secretary outraged at Amazon Echo on Twitter

Commentary: Sarah Sanders isn't happy that Amazon's smart speaker responds to her two-year-old's shouts of "Batman!"

Chris Matyszczyk
2 min read

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders Holds Press Briefing At White House

She's not happy with Alexa.

Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

We're perched in an era where the very definition of intelligence is being questioned.

The intelligence of our government and the intelligence of our gadgets.

It seems as if almost every new gadget claims to be smart. But are they really stable geniuses, these devices?

I ask because White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders isn't impressed with the intelligence of her Amazon Echo .

I know this because on Sunday she took to her official Twitter account to express her outrage at its apparently extreme functionality.

It's unclear exactly how her 2-year-old invoking Batman to, perhaps, save the world might have caused the Echo to order this specific Batman toy. 

Did Sanders' tot somehow appeal to Alexa in order to obtain the dawn of justice? 

Amazon's voice purchasing requires a "yes" confirmation before placing your order.

Neither the White House nor Amazon immediately responded to requests for comment.

Some on Twitter were perturbed that the press secretary was using an official account to criticize a company. 

Still, Sanders surely has a point that these painfully intrusive devices can react to words that aren't addressed to them at all.

For myself, every time I utter the word "seriously," Siri wakes up as if I'm addressing her. I've never taken Siri seriously in my life. 

Personally, I'm more surprised that in an atmosphere in which everyone is worried about being surveilled, a senior government employee such as Sanders would have an Echo in her home. 

In the past, Amazon has refused to produce voice data to determine whether Alexa overheard a murder. It's unclear what happens to any data Alexa and similar devices might record.

It could be that some members of the White House aren't aware of the full ramifications of certain technologies. 

Reports emerged last year that the president was using an unsecured Android phone. And only last week, the White House took 22 minutes to mute a conference call.