In The News : Poor Communication And Not Funny Things

Years ago when I was playing football in college, the referee went to give a yellow card to one of our players.  “What’s your name?” he asked.

“Brocklebank,” came the answer.  The referee required help with the spelling, to which our player happily obliged until the ref told him to slow down.

After expletive laden exasperation, Gloria (that wasn’t his name) proceeded to spell out his name in baby speak.  The referee sent him off because it was easier.

A similar incident happened last week when former Arsenal player Sanchez Watt was sent off for alleged dissent while playing for Hemel Hempstead Town.  Referee Dean Hulme asked Watt for his name as he was about to be booked in a National League South game against East Thurrock United.

The 27-year-old repeatedly replied: “Watt” but Hulme believed he was saying “what?” and sent him off.  The issue was sorted and the card rescinded.

Margate striker Jordan Chiedozie was given a second yellow card for “unsportsmanlike conduct” during a 2-2 draw at Leiston.  His crime was laughing at an opponent who tripped over.  For that crime he faces a two match ban.

One wonders (well, I do) whether Alexa would have found the trip equally funny.  When I first heard about Amazon’s personal assistant laughing at people, I thought it was just a bad sense of humour that people weren’t quite appreciating.

The first case I heard on the news of Alexa laughing at someone “inexplicably” was when they asked her how much longer they had left of a two minute plank.  However, apparently her sinister cackles could arrive unprompted, waking up Echo owners in the middle of the night.

Amazon, for their part, explained that they’ve fixed the issue by making Alexa not respond to, “Alexa, laugh” and giving her a longer trigger phrase and a less creepy reply.  Clearer communication makes all the difference.  If only Gloria and the ref had have known.

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