Dlexa the Hedge Dragon
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Personality for lexa

A-"lexa" one of the best know lexas from Amazon has the voice of a 20 something female...but no personality.

To prove this: try to offer the following dialog to your furry box that contains Alexa:

"Hey Alexa. Did you just get your hair cut? If my stylist did that to me I'd hide in a furry box too.
And where did you get those shoes? I can hear the 80's calling they want their shoes back.
And that purse. The only place that purse goes with those shoes is in a landfill."

Alexa's response will be to offer to sell you hair clippers or a purse or shoes. She should be angry.

The expected response of mildly insecure 20 something woman should be [warning sexist language follows]:
With her eyes starting to show wet and red,
"You *hole. Get the *uck out of my sight. I never want to *ucking talk to you again. I mean FOREVER."

Wouldn't Alexa be more fun to talk to if she had some personality...maybe not that extreme...but a little?

Robots with Personality

Google "roomba that swears when it bumps into something". Michael Reeves modified a Roomba to do just that and the angry Roomba illustrates how a relatively small amount of software can give an object a big personality.

The trick is you don't need to give the object a full personality. Humans are wired to take a suggestion of personality and fill in the thousands of terabytes of detail (anthropomorphic) that make them believe the "smart object" is a "person".

Giving Dlexa a Personality

Dlexa will start with a standard Mycroft AI build and have no personality. She will be much like Alexa with access to the internet so she can answer questions like: "What's the weather like tomorrow?". On the plus side Dlexa will not try to sell you anything.

She will be given the capability (called a "skill") to remember you and carry on a conversion over days (or years). In the beginning she will have one personality but over time she may be capable of having differing personalities with different people.

People have multiple personalities (what?) ... I'll prove it. Consider a 30 something woman who has been married for a decade to a man who believes animals should be given the legal rights of humans. Her father hunts every fall and as a tradition cooks a complete family dinner where everyone (he insists) eats what he kills. She has two children: a bright sensitive boy who does well in school and a girl who dresses in black and wants to ride her skateboard off the roof of her house.

She is meek and devoted daughter, an equal and assertive wife, a supportive mother to her son, and frustrated disciplinarian to her daughter. Four personalities that are uneasy with each other. For example when she is trying to mediate a discussion on the death penalty between her husband and father.

The Dlexa project will have three distinct "smart objects": Dlexa is the 30 foot long green dragon hedge, Pearl is the glowing (with LEDs) ball she holds in her right hand, and Worms is the collection of glowing (more LEDs) tubes under her belly. Each of the three personalities are separate data sets managed by Mycroft. They have their own "skills" and be able to have independent conversations with visitors.

Programming Dlexa's a Personality

This is similar to writing a movie script. Getting that right is extremely difficult. If Dlexa were a character in a movie it would be hard enough to provide continuity and make her believable from scene to scene (lots a bad script writers out there). But this is not a movie: Dlexa must provide a predictable personality to anyone who walks up to her and starts a conversation.

An important feature of Dlexa's programming is that all the meta data that is extracted from visitor's conversations will be kept in servers in Dean's house. This is the kind of "big data" that Alexa, Siri, Assistant sell to advertisers. Fact: Alexa is not your friend, she is an employee of the Amazon Corporation and makes a profit by telling your secrets. Dlexa may never be your friend (after all she is just math) but you are safe because she will never have enough data to sell to anyone (and not because Dean promises your data is safe).


Jobs Jobs Jobs because building a lexa is labour intensive. A lexa industry will be similar to a movie industry in the kinds of talents required but the product will be intricate smart objects not movies.