Hey Alexa, please tell me the time. Would you use good manners when talking to a virtual assistant, like Amazon’s Alexa? If you said no, you’re not alone. Only 19 percent of people with voice-controlled smart speakers regularly say “please” when talking to them. That’s according to a 2019 study by the Pew Research Center.
Many say there’s no need to be kind to machines. They point out that we don’t type “please” when looking for information from Google or other search engines.
But others argue that it’s rude to bark orders—even if you’re talking to a device. Thomas Farley is an expert on manners. He says being polite to voice assistants can build good habits.
“The more we do it when we interact with a smart speaker, the more likely we are to remember to do it when we’re speaking to an actual human being,” Farley says.