My review of the British Poetry Alexa skill

Being the owner of an Amazon Echo and a lover of poetry, I recently enabled the Alexa skill of the same name, https://www.amazon.co.uk/Adam-Krell-British-Poetry/dp/B07B269592.

The British Poetry Alexa skill enables the user of an Echo to ask that a poem is read. There is also the opportunity to play a game to test your knowledge of British poetry.

Turning first to the read a poem feature, I found this rather hit and miss. For example on asking for a poem by the famous composer of humorous verse, Edward Lear, a poem by Sir Thomas Wyatt was voiced by Alexa. Just how Edward Lear can be equated with Sir Thomas Wyatt astounds me! I had more luck when requesting that a poem by Shakespeare, Wordsworth or William Blake be read. Had British Poetry not found the latter poets I would have disabled the British Poetry skill.

I previously favourably reviewed the My Poems Alexa skill, https://kmorrispoet.com/2019/10/31/my-review-of-my-poems-an-alexa-skill-enabling-the-amazon-echo-user-to-listen-to-poetry/. In that review I commend the fact that the poetry in My Poems is voiced by human actors. Unfortunately this is not the case with the British Poetry Alexa skill.

As regards the facility enabling the user of British Poetry to play a game, I enjoyed using this aspect of the app. The player is read the first few lines of a poem and then asked to say who the poet in question is. There are 3 options to choose from and I must confess to having crossed my fingers on several occasions and made a wild guess as to who the poet in question was!

Whilst (as mentioned above), the facility enabling the user to request that a particular poem is read is rather hit and miss, I did enjoy the game aspect of the British Poetry Alexa skill, and I shall return to play another day. However the My Poems app is, I believe of much more value to the lover of poetry.

Kevin

4 thoughts on “My review of the British Poetry Alexa skill

  1. Daniel Kemp

    As I’m a complete idiot when it comes to technology I found it fascinating just how advanced we are towards becoming unnecessary.

    Reply
    1. K Morris Poet Post author

      Thank you for your comment.

      I have had 2 of my books (“The Writer’s Pen and Other Poems”, and “My Old Clock I Wind”) recorded by human actors. The quality of the reading far surpasses anything of which Alexa or any other similar software is capable, so I don’t think that human actors are going to be out of a job any time soon.

      As someone who is registered blind, I have found the advance of technology to be, on the whole a good thing. Whilst studying for my degree at Swansea, I utilised text books recorded by volunteers onto cassettes. Many of these books ran to 30-40 tapes and I remember dropping the containers and desperately trying to put the cassettes back into order. Now visually impaired people can read books using the text to speech facility on the Amazon Kindle cutting out the necessity for numerous cassette tapes.

      The rise of artificial intelligence undoubtedly raises profound ethical and other issues, however I still think the jurrys out as to whether it will cause mass unemployment. The Luddites feared joblessness as a result of the Industrial Revolution, however, whilst some traditional crafts did decline, other industries grew up thereby creating jobs.

      Having said the above, I do recognise the problems tech can cause. For example people walking around constantly glued to their electronic devices can cause accidents and, of course lead to a loss of human interaction causing social isolation.

      Best wishes, Kevin

      Reply

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