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Alexa is a smart speaker which is sold by Amazon. People use it to control their home and ask it questions. It helps people with alarms, plays music and is a very smart assistant for the home.

It is an ongoing joke that Alexa listens to everything but one family found it to actually be true. They were having a conversation in the same room as Alexa but they did not ask Alexa a question or talk to it. However, Alexa listened to the conversation and recorded it. Alexa then sent the recording to one of their friends.

Their friend was very shocked and told them that Alexa recorded the conversation secretly and sent it. The friend knew that it was recorded secretly because it was  not a conversation directed at them. The family insisted that they did not talk to Alexa or tell it to start recording. They say that they definitely didn’t ask Alexa to send anything either.

The family decided to remove the Alexa speakers from every room in their house after being scared by this incident.

 

Difficult words

Control: To have power over something else.

Ongoing: Something that is continuing

However: Used to describe the opposite; but

Record: To keep in writing, sound or video of what happens

Secretly: To do something that no one knows about.

Direct: To do something towards or pointed at someone.

Insist: To demand or say strongly that something should happen.

Incident: Something that happens.

Activities

For listening practise, listen to the recorded article here:

British English: Coming Soon!

American English:

Match the Synonym!

 1. Control  A. Continue
 2. Ongoing  B. But
 3. However  C. Demand
 4. Direct  D. Power
 5. Insist  E. Point

True or False?

1.  Alexa is a smart person that works at Amazon.  T / F

2.  Alexa can control a home. T / F

3. The smart speaker sent a picture to a friend of the family.  T / F

4.  The friend was happy to receive the recording. T / F

5. The family removed all the Alexa speakers in their home. T / F

Unscramble the sentence!

1. is / is / Amazon / sold / smart / a / Alexa / by / speaker / which

2. home / People / it / control / their / use / to

3. Alexa / and / listened / the / to / conversation / recorded / it

4. very / was / shocked / friend / Their

5. friend / secretly / it / The / recorded / knew / was / that

Listening and Vocabulary

Listen to the article and fill in the words OR practice vocabulary and fill in the words.

British English: Coming Soon!

American English:

Conversation Sold Directed
Ongoing Scared Music

Alexa is a smart speaker which is _________ by Amazon. People use it to control their home and ask it questions. It helps people with alarms, plays _________ and is a very smart assistant for the home.

It is an __________ joke that Alexa listens to everything but one family found it to actually be true. They were having a conversation in the same room as Alexa but they did not ask Alexa a question or talk to it. However, Alexa listened to the ___________ and recorded it. Alexa then sent the recording to one of their friends.

Their friend was very shocked and told them that Alexa recorded the conversation secretly and sent it. The friend knew that it was recorded secretly because it was a not a conversation ____________ at them. The family insisted that they did not talk to Alexa or tell it to start recording. They say that they definitely didn’t ask Alexa to send anything either.

The family decided to remove the Alexa speakers from every room in their house after being _________ by this incident.

 

Conversation Questions

Take turns speaking with a partner or try to answer on your own:

1. Did you find this article interesting? Why or why not?
2. Did you learn anything new from this article? If so, what?
3. Do you own any smart speakers?
4. How often do you use the smart assistant on your phone or tablet?
5. Will smart assistants like Alexa be more common in the future?
6. Do you trust your private data with companies like Amazon, Google or Facebook?
7. Do you think Alexa speakers are always listening?
8. Do you have or want to have a smart home?
9. What benefits are there to having a smart speaker in every room of your house?
10. Would you rather pay more for a product and have your data remain private or have a product for free and the company uses your data to advertise to you?
11. Do you use Amazon to buy things online?
12. What do you know about Amazon?
13. Is there a similar site to Amazon in your country that is popular?
14. Do you prefer to shop online or in a store?
15. Is there anything that you would never buy online?
16. Is there something that your phone can’t do but you would like it to?
17. Do you think technology is making people lazy?
18. What do you think is the most useful piece of technology from the last 10 years?
19. What would you have done if this had happened to you?
20.  Do you think the family overreacted by removing all of their Alexa speakers from their home?