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Alexa is making us all couch potatoes

Mobility is now endangered at home too; a voice command is enough to get work done

By The Telegraph

  • Published 1.04.19, 10:45 AM
  • Updated 1.04.19, 10:45 AM
‘Smart assistants’ like Amazon’s Alexa have flooded the market seemingly with the intention of doing away with domestic chores
‘Smart assistants’ like Amazon’s Alexa have flooded the market seemingly with the intention of doing away with domestic chores Shutterstock

Sir — The population of couch potatoes is set to explode in the future. The credit must go to ‘smart assistants’ like Amazon’s ‘Alexa’ which have flooded the market seemingly with the intention of doing away with domestic chores. As it is, employees spend most of their time hunched in front of computers at work. Mobility is now endangered at home too; a voice command is enough to get work done. Are companies fiddling with artificial intelligence concerned about the health of consumers?

Manabendra Sanyal,

Calcutta

Deadly weight

Sir — The decision to reduce the weight of school bags was long overdue. A survey conducted two years ago by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India under its healthcare unit found that over 88 per cent of school-going children between the ages of 7 to 13 bore more than 45 per cent of their weight on their back.

Is there any need to carry books to school? The teacher is expected to give lessons to students. The latter can refer to books when they are studying at home. It would be enough if children carried a few exercise books to schools for class work. School authorities should provide students with lockers to keep art kits, geometry boxes, swimming costumes and sport equipment.

Rabindranath Sarkar,

Calcutta

Sir — The Telegraph’s report on school bags is relevant to every school-going child. I have weighed the school bag of my daughter who studies in standard V; it weighed eight kilogrammes. These days, publishers change a chapter or two every year, forcing students to buy new books, thereby adding to the weight of their bags. The practice of offering commissions to schools is also on the rise. Putting pressure on students, literally or figuratively, is an archaic proposition.

Viresh Agarwala,

Kurseong

Male fief

Sir — India has been an utter failure when it comes to women’s representation in Parliament. Sadly, India occupied the 103rd spot out of 140 countries with a representation of only 12 per cent some years ago.

The plight of women leaders in Arunachal Pradesh, much like the rest of the Northeast, is similar. Arunachal has only three women in a state assembly that has 60 seats. The candidature list of the Bharatiya Janata Party has three women as well. Meanwhile, Jarjum Ete, a renowned activist, has resigned from the Congress.

Ete’s resignation is much more than an expression of ‘disenchantment’. It is a reminder of the grim reality that politics is not accommodating of women leaders. We have been conditioned to believe that war and politics are more effectively managed by men. Is that why women are allotted the roles of reproduction and homemaking?

Ngurang Reena,

Delhi

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