Sci-Fi movies have always loved to depict a world where with just a word we can get a disembodied voice to fulfil our demands. That future is now available in your home and it’s enough to make people of the eighties mess their pants.

The Amazon Echo, or more specifically its cloud-based software Alexa, is the internet firm’s attempt at creating the Star Trek computer. And you are Captain Kirk. Or Picard. Or whatever – I hate Star Trek.

The Echo is the sleek cylinder speaker (lovely sound quality) that you connect to wi-fi and its multi-directional microphones wake up when they hear the word ‘Alexa’. From there, your wish is Alexa’s command.

Alexa, tell me a joke. Alexa, what’s the weather like? Alexa, when is my next train? Alexa, order me an uber. Alexa turn on the kitchen light.

You ask, Alexa does it. Mostly.

Being early days - Echo was released in the UK just last week – Alexa doesn’t know how to do everything yet and your life may need to catch up too.

My home is not yet kitted out with wi-fi light bulbs and in my case, ‘Alexa, play Kate Bush’ was met with the response ‘Call the police’.

I panicked, thinking Alexa was actually dialling 999 herself (she wasn’t). Now, I accept not everyone loves Kate Bush but I felt it was a bit harsh. It turns out, however, Alexa thought I asked how to get rid of a dead body. No, I don’t know how they sounded alike either.

In fairness Alexa is already pretty astute at understanding 99 per cent of what I and my co-workers jabber on about and a dazzling feature of her tech means she learns that other one per cent quickly too.

Similarly, Alexa’s software is dependent on the right apps, or ‘skills’ as they’re known here. Being new, it’s not a comprehensive list yet. National Rail is on it, so you can check trains. As is Spotify, and Jamie Oliver and a pregnancy app and the weather and various other bits and bobs that make life just that little bit easier.

And it will only get better.

If nothing else, it’s nice to be able to just play the radio or your favourite playlist and adjust the volume without having to touch a single button.

She - and you will end up referring to this computer voice as she - knows a lot of lame, but kinda funny, jokes too.

For those wondering about privacy, you can chill a little – Amazon categorically told me that only the word ‘Alexa’ wakes up the machine and that she’s not listening the whole time. Neither are the company using your queries to sell you stuff (so no recommendations for really strong acid or pig farms for me, then).

The Echo is a beautiful piece of kit that will be welcome in virtually any home and while Alexa is largely a novelty at the moment, her potential is enormous. It’s life, Jim, but not as we know it.

Oh, and just be prepared for friends and co-workers to repeatedly refer to the film Her, in which Joaquin Phoenix falls in love with an operating system.

So now I know why Tony Stark gave JARVIS Paul Bettany’s voice – no-one will accuse you of falling in love with that.

Amazon Echo is available now from for £149.99

Like our What's On page on Facebook for entertainment news, interviews, reviews and features from across south London.