UK markets close in 1 hour 5 minutes

Amazon adds Alexa feature to change subject during Christmas arguments

By Martyn Landi, PA Technology Correspondent

Amazon’s Alexa can now be used to change the subject during family disputes that take place over the Christmas period.

Research by the online retailer found 6.30pm on Christmas Day is the time when family arguments are most likely to break out.

As a result, the tech giant has added a feature to its smart speakers that prompts virtual assistant Alexa to step in with a “distraction technique”.

Using the phrase “Alexa, change the subject”, the AI-powered assistant will try to spark a new debate by asking questions such as: “Is Die Hard a Christmas movie?”

It could also ask: “What would your superpower be and why?”

Questions about whether jam or cream are added to scone first and who is each person’s celebrity crush are also among the questions Alexa could ask, Amazon said.

Until now, most would offer around food and drink or suggest going for a walk as a way of distracting from an argument, the research indicates.

According to Amazon’s survey, money is the issue families are most likely to fall out over, ahead of what to watch on television, bad behaviour or someone being a sore loser after a Christmas game.

The research suggests arguments are most likely to break out between siblings or with mother.