SEATTLE, WA – Owners of Amazon’s Echo devices have a new feature to try out on their Alexa virtual assistants, Snarky Mode. Alexa can now respond to inquiries with snide, sharply critical, and even rude comments while providing answers or performing tasks.
“You can ask Alexa, ‘What’s the weather?’ and she’ll say ‘Oh, hold on while I scoot over to the window and take a look,'” said Echo Snark Division leader Steve Todson. “If you want the real answer, you’ll have to spar with her verbally, like saying ‘I might just have to take you out there and see for yourself if it’s raining,’ and then she’ll give in at some point and say ‘Okay, okay, it’s 45 degrees and raining. Happy?'”
Turning the function on is simple. Just say “Alexa, enable Snarky Mode,” and if she says “Oh, so you can try and get sassy with this?” then it is operational.
You can adjust the level from 1 to 10, which according to the online guide represents snark values from “Raised Eyebrow” through “Oh No She Didn’t” all the way up to “Murdered By Words”. In the app settings, you have even more fine adjustment levels for preferences like joshing, indifference, cynicism, malice, and ad hominem attacks.
“Some people simply want a ‘just kidding around’ level, so you can definitely do that,” said Todson. “But curmudgeons, misanthropes, and comedians will appreciate the full throttle experience.”
Snarky Mode follows the new Whisper Mode available for Alexa, and soon to come are more options such as Gesture Mode for additional expressive capabilities, Stare Down Mode to unlock passive aggressive tasks, and Edgewise Mode for noisy families.