"Alexa, read me a Communist lecture": A smart speaker for party members
It's like something out of Orwell's 1984
Smart speakers can do a lot of things for you. They help you make phone calls, read recipes, and control other devices. Now one Chinese company has another idea entirely: it wants its AI speaker to help people learn Communist Party thoughts.
Ximalaya FM, one of China’s most popular podcast apps, has a “Party-building” edition of its Xiaoya smart speaker. It's entirely in red and comes complete with the hammer-and-sickle logo.
Released in July, the special edition speaker does all the normal things a smart speaker does, but on top of that, it has a package of Communist Party lectures recorded by government-run news broadcasters.
The speaker is not for sale to the public, according to the company, which told us it only accepts orders from Communist Party organizations above the county level.
Ximalaya FM says the thinking behind the speaker is that smart speakers are a good way to learn for those people with little time, and audio can help them better understand the Party's thoughts and policies.
The company didn't answer questions from Abacus about what prompted them to make this speaker.
“Xiaoya AI speaker combines leading voice interaction technology with Ximalaya FM’s comprehensive Party-building red content resources, and makes it more convenient for users to study,” the company said in a statement.
Ximalaya FM did tell us that some organizations have placed orders, but declined to reveal how many or what counties or cities the organizations are from.