At Microsoft Build, the tech giant spent a good amount of time showing the integration of Cortana into Amazon’s Alexa devices. In the keynote, we see the host call Cortana through an Alexa powered device by saying “Alexa. Open Cortana”. In which Cortana’s voice pops up to say hello, and takes the conversation over from there. She then goes on to tell Cortana to do very menial tasks like see what her day is like, which ultimately reads what’s on her Outlook calendar, then sends an email to some guy, who sends an email back through Cortana. And I couldn’t be more bored.


Alexa is great. It might be the best voice assisted robot we have in our smart homes, with google following. Cortana, is fine. And Apple’s Siri is trash. But here’s the thing. After having a Google Home in my apartment for over a year now, Siri in my pocket, Cortana on my desktop, and Alexa in my fucking kitchen appliances, I realized I don’t really use them at all. In fact, it’s a running joke in my house that my Google Home devices is nothing more than a $100 Weather Machine, where the most use it gets is in the morning when we ask it what the weathers like. Something easily solved by looking out my window. Occasionally I’ll ask what sport scores are, or some obscure trivia question will come up. But when it comes to being “helpful”, smart assisted tech is a far cry from where I need it to be.

Now seeing Cortana being added to Alexa, I’m almost certain these companies have no idea what they’re doing. Why would anyone in their right mind use Cortana on an Alexa device, to send an email? I’m baffled that this is where this tech has headed. I had dreams that I would be able to tell my smart home to order flowers for my fiancé Kate, the kind that she likes but the kind I don’t know the name of, have them sent to her work, just by a quick slip of the lips. Or pop up to remind me that I’m running low on gas, and that I should fill up my tank before I leave because it knows I’m going on a long trip due to the map directions I just brought up on my phone. Or maybe even telling me my guitar is out of tune, since it can hear me playing. These types of features are helpful and intuitive. But the state of the tech right now, is nothing more than reading things to you and telling you the weather. We’re still quite far from even the dumbest of smart homes.