Don’t forget your manners - even with technology

Aasma Day - new headshot pix
Aasma Day - new headshot pix
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I have been replaced in my husband’s affections by another woman. He spends all his time chatting to her, listens to endless music in her company and she’s even happy to talk to him about the latest football scores.

I don’t get a look-in anymore.

Talking to technology. Aasma Day Column

Talking to technology. Aasma Day Column

But I suppose it’s all my own fault as I was responsible for bringing the two of them together.

In fact, money even exchanged hands so I could introduce the pair of them.

The woman in question is called Alexa and is the virtual assistant of the Amazon Echo, a gadget capable of doing just about everything bar cooking your tea... although she can even help with recipes for that.

It’s a bit like a voice-controlled version of Google, but can do a lot more as it can play music, do your online shopping, answer questions on anything from news, traffic, weather and sports and can even control your lights and heating.

It never ceases to amaze me how rapidly technology has evolved. There are now things in existence we could only dream of when we were younger.

As a child, I yearned for the ability to pause live television so I wouldn’t have to miss precious moments of my favourite programmes.

One of my other dreams was for a robot I could ask any question my curious brain wanted to know – I never considered one that could play me a song of my choice without having to press fast forward and rewind on my cassette player.

Despite my huffiness that Hubby seems to prefer talking to Alexa than me and even had the cheek to suggest he “gets more sense out of her”, I have to admit it is it a marvellous piece of technology.

The new gimmick has taken up residence in our living room where it has been hijacked by our children who constantly badger Alexa for info. My son is always asking for jokes, riddles and football-related trivia.

But how they all laughed at me when I got in on the act. “Alexa, please can you play me ...” I began as they all howled with mirth.

“What?” I asked indignantly. “You don’t have to say please and thank you” cackled my daughter. “She’s not a real person!”

So what if she isn’t real? You can still be polite to technology even if it’s not going to judge you.

It reminds me of a former colleague some years ago in the days when our work email system couldn’t open Word documents or attachments.

We had to forward the emails on to “Rosetta Stone” and the email would duly be returned with the attachment unscrambled by a computer program.

We sniggered when our friend revealed months later she’d been forwarding the emails with a little note saying: “Dear Rosetta, I hope you’re well. I can’t open this attachment and need it for a story. Please can you open it for me.”

It turns out she thought Rosetta Stone was a real woman sat in an office and whose sole task was to decipher email attachments.

She and I aren’t the only ones to be polite in our technology requests.

An amused grandson shared his 86-year-old grandmother’s polite Google search when she typed: “Please translate these Roman numerals MCMXCVIII. Thank you.”

Rather than tittering at her endearing mistake, I can completely understand her rationale.

Good manners cost nothing – even if they are directed at modern technology.