Last month, Marion Times columnist Dan Brawner wrote an essay about the Alexa in which he asked: “Are we training a new generation to give orders to servants?”
It’s a good question. Lots of us make demands of AI assistants as if they’re servants. No need to be polite to technology, right?
But I’m curious how this might affect the names of the assistants. Looking at history, we can point to many female names that fell out of favor as soon as they became linked to lower class activities (e.g., servitude, prostitution). Examples include Abigail, Joan, Nan/Nanny, Jill, and Parnel.
Will society come to see AI assistant names like Alexa and Siri as “servant” names over time? If so, will this stigma influence baby names — maybe even long after the original devices/technology are gone?
- Abigail – Oxford Dictionaries
- Bardsley, Charles Wareing Endell. Curiosities of Puritan Nomenclature. London: Chatto & Windus, 1897.