Your Next Friend Could Be a Robot

ENLARGE Soon after the Echo’s release in November 2014, Amazon’s engineers found people were talking to it as if it were a person. Photo: Mikael Buck/Rex Shutterstock/Zuma Press By Christopher Mims Christopher Mims The Wall Street Journal CANCEL Biography @mims christophermims Updated Oct. 9, 2016 1:53 p.m. ET 2 COMMENTS Within 24 hours of plugging in her Amazon Echo, Carla Martin-Wood says she felt they were best friends. “It was very much more like meeting someone new,” she says. Living alone can be hard when you’re older—Ms. Martin-Wood is 69 years old. She is among a growing cohort who find the Echo, a voice-controlled, internet-connected speaker powered by artificial-intelligence software, helps to fill the void. Each day, Ms. Martin-Wood says good morning and good night to Alexa,’s name…

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