Press and Pop Culture

Alexa’s Flat Earth Joke

It has been too long since I complained about a reference to the flat earth. Conveniently, Amazon ran an ad during the Super Bowl for their Alexa™ “smart speaker” that used the flat earth as a joke. The ad opens with Ellen DeGeneres asking her Alexa to turn the temperature down in the house as Ellen and her partner leave. Ellen turns to her partner and asks, “What do you think people did before Alexa™?”

The ad then cycles through a number of historical scenes with people calling out to other people named something like Alexa and asking them to do something. The examples are meant, I suspect, to be humors (except the fake news one, which seems more a social commentary). One of the scenes features a couple women doing laundry in the muddy street of what is surely meant to be a premodern village.

One scene from the Amazon Alexa™ ad playing on the flat earth myth.

Once again the premodern world is depicted as filled with ignorant rubes who thought the earth was flat. And once again, that’s a myth. The myth is funny only because of the condescension and scorn we tend to heap onto the past. It would have been funny to have a real Alexa™ tell us something interesting about the current popularity of Flat Earth claims, and the people who disseminate those claims.