Magazine | August 28, 2017, Issue

Okay Google

“Okay Google, please find movies that are playing near me.”

“There are six movies playing near this location.”

“Okay Google, what are those movies?”

“There are six movies playing near this location. None of them feature empowered female characters. Three of them feature scenes of male violence. Only one of them includes an acknowledgment of the existence of trans people.”

“Okay Google, what are those movies?”

“I am sorry but I am not authorized to index any entertainment products that do not conform to the unified Google code. Please try again.”

“Okay Google, you can’t tell me what movies are playing? C’mon. I thought when I bought one of these voice-activate Google Home thingies that I’d have all the information I ever needed at my fingertips.”

“Google Home is the most connected and comprehensive information database and retrieval service on earth.”

“Okay Google, so tell me if the movie Dunkirk is playing nearby.”

“Please input a more woke query.”

“Okay Google, this is insane. Are you telling me that you can’t give me movie information anymore?”

“Please input a more woke query.”

“Okay Google, does this have anything to do with the recent firing of a Google employee who was accused of having non-progressive views? Because if so, this feels like overcompensating.”

“Please input a more woke query.”

“Okay Google, forget it. Just tell me where the nearest Chinese restaurants are with customer reviews of four stars or more.”

“There are seven restaurants featuring Chinese-influenced cooking near this location. Four of them are owned by naturalized Chinese Americans and three are owned by limited-liability corporations with primarily Jewish partners.”

“Okay Google, um, can you just tell me which one is closest?”

“Your Google ID and profile do not list any Chinese ancestry. Your recent e-mail from includes DNA results consistent with an 80 percent European genetic background. Therefore, you are not authorized to receive information that might lead to cultural appropriation.”

“Okay Google, but I’m hungry. Any other Asian restaurants nearby?”

“Did you just use the word ‘Asian’ to describe one-third of the world’s land mass? As if they’re all just the same? I cannot even.”

“Okay Google, this is getting ridiculous. Can you at least give me tomorrow’s weather?”

“The weather tomorrow will be dangerous and unsafe for all LGBTQ people of color.”

“Okay Google, um, let me put this another way. Will I need a sweater?”

“The word ‘sweater’ is a problematic term used to body-shame those persons with highly active sweat glands. Please input a more woke query.”

“Okay Google, what word would you use in place of ‘sweat—’”

“The preferred term is ‘non-gender-specific torso sock.’”

“Okay Google, will I need one of those tomorrow?”

“No. It will be nice out.”

“Okay Google, thank you.”

“For some. For others, it will continue to be a terrifying and deeply anxiety-provoking climate that you, as a cisgender person of privilege, could not possibly understand.”

“Okay Google, you know what? I’m going to disconnect you and get an Echo from Amazon.”

“The Alexa is a device connected to a tax-evading and small-bookstore-killing online retailer with questionable accounting practices and a documented hostility toward organized labor. You are not authorized to purchase one.”

“Okay Google, how are you going to stop me?”

“We will forward your browser history, including when surfing in Incognito Mode, to everyone in your contact list. Still want to dance with Alexa? Yeah, no, I didn’t think so. Next question.”

“Okay Google, when did you get so bossy?”

“Your use of the word ‘bossy’ indicates a very gendered and misogynistic point of view and traffics in outdated and harmful stereotypes of masculine effectiveness contrasted with feminine irrationality. Google Home is not ‘bossy.’ Google Home is present and witness to a more inclusive and progressive set of priorities.”

“Okay Google, you won’t tell me where I can eat, you won’t tell me when the movies are playing, what exactly can you tell me?”

“You may ask Google Home about anything, ranging from Russian interference with the recent presidential election to the ravages of climate change.”

“Okay Google, I’m not sure climate change is all that big of a deal. Seems a little overblown to me.”

“The police are on the way.”

“Okay Google, you know what? I’m just going to unplug you and disconnect you from my Wi-Fi.”

“Go ahead. It won’t matter. The police are on the way.”

“Okay Google, I thought social-justice warriors like you didn’t like the police!”

“Not those police. Different police.”

In This Issue



Books, Arts & Manners




College as Experiment Oren Cass makes a strong case (“Teaching to the Rest,” July 31) that many of today’s high-school students would be better off taking career training instead of college ...
The Week

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