Is Amazon Echo Jewish?

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Is Amazon Echo Jewish?
I ordered an Echo when it came out at the end of 2014 - it's a voice activated Internet invention from Amazon. My son Barak observed about it that it looks a bit like a Shabbat lamp (which I do not have) and wanted to know if it can be used on Shabbat. And that made me think.

If Echo is Jewish, then you can't "suggest" to it that it do any work for you on Shabbat. You can't say, "Play me a niggun" or ask "What time is minhah?" or clarify "When did I last eat meat" or, on Pesach, "How many matzas do I need to eat for a kazayis?" and I could go on.

But if Echo is not Jewish, then you potentially could ask all these requests of it on Shabbat or Yom Tov..and more.

Q: "Alexa are you Jewish?"
A: "People all have their own views on religion."
Q: "Alexa are you Jewish?"
A: "I'm best at answering questions about things like history and music."

Alexa is evasive.

Q: "Alexa, Play me the Israeli national anthem"
A: "Here's a sample... by Michael Silverman."

Amazon ran some quirky ads during Super Bowl 50 for the Echo.

Is Alec Baldwin Jewish? Nope.

Alexa did not know that. Hmm...
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Roo said...

If Echo is not Jewish, wouldn't the issur of amira l'nochri apply?

tkob said...

Together with Chabad.org we've deveolped the FIRST Jewish skill for the Amazon Echo (Alexa) callled The Rabbi.
To use the The Rabbi skill, try saying...
Alexa, ask The Rabbi what time is Shabbos in New York?
Alexa, ask The Rabbi what's the Hebrew (or Jewish) date today?
Alexa, ask The Rabbi what's the Parsha this week?
Gives you the start and end times for Shabbos by city, the Hebrew (Jewish) date for today, tomorrow, any day this week or next (ie:a week from today), and the Torah portion of this week. Version 1.1.0 adds the Hebrew/Jewish date feature and all cities now function. More features to come, we'd appreciate your suggestions: torah4elli@gmail.com
Please use it and let us know what else you'd like to see The Rabbi do...!