We’ve recently started focusing on instilling to our nearly three year old a sense of humility and kindness — not something that comes naturally or easily to this age group. Of the lessons reminds me of Principle №4. from Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People: Ask questions instead of giving direct orders. Instead of “Gimme this” the request should be “Can I have this?” or “Can you give this to me?”.

The issue comes up when giving commands to Alexa or even Google Home. We’ve been trained to give the most efficient, direct command to have these devices work well. However, efficient and direct is not polite and considerate. Especially when we anthropomorphize our virtual assistants, if we behave towards them in an impolite way, we’re setting up an example for those around us.

Maybe there’s a way to set our devices up for a “polite mode”. Not only should they only respond when our commands have the properly syntax of kindness, they should also correct us when we’ve failed. They’re probably more forgiving than those around us.

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