If you’ve been holding off buying an Alexa because you were annoyed at having to say “Alexa” every time you needed something, instead of calling out to a ubiquitous, ever-present computer like they do on Star Trek, your wait is finally over. As of now, you can trigger your Amazon Echo or Echo Dot by saying the word “Computer”.

There is something palpably satisfying about being a science fiction fan – especially a Star Trek fan – and watching the future unfold exactly as it was foretold in the many Star Trek television series and motion pictures. We’ve already seen the arrival of the classic Star Trek Communicator, one that actually works. We’ve also witnessed the birth of the Universal Translator more than once, though the two we’ve covered don’t look like the ones in the show. There is even a race to develop practical, working Tricorders (we’ll be speaking with some of the participants and organizers behind Qualcomm’s Tricorder X-Prize this coming weekend on The Event Horizon, so be sure to tune in for that).

To change your wake word, here’s what to do:

  • Open the Alexa app on your phone.
  • Slide out the left-hand navigation panel and tap Settings.
  • Tap the device that you want to change.
  • Scroll down and tap Wake Word.
  • Tap the drop down and choose Computer from the list.
  • Tap Save.

After that, your Amazon Echo or Echo Dot will respond to the word “Computer”, instead of “Alexa”. Of course, this may take some discipline. “Alexa” or “Echo” work well as a trigger words because these aren’t commonly spoken aloud. The word “Computer” is a lot more common. You can do a sort of soft hack on this experience by simply changing the word you use to refer to your own computer. Call it a desktop, or a laptop, or a notebook, or call it a PC, or a Mac, or a Linux box. We already have lots of different words for “Computer” that we use in normal conversation anyway, so this isn’t much of a hardship.

We are continually impressed with how technology seems hell-bent on recreating absolutely everything we ever saw on Star Trek. 

Now if it only spoke in Majel Barrett’s voice …



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