How Loud Would It Be If Every Alexa In The World Played "Despacito" At The Same Time

Adam Gray

Abstract


The “This is so sad, Alexa play Despacito” meme has become incredibly widespread since its origin in 2018. The meme, which mocks posts of the form “This is so sad, can we get X likes”, takes the form of an instruction to Alexa, the personal assistant software by Amazon, to play the song ‘Despacito’. This paper aims to calculate, based on the physics of sound and the properties of a typical speaker, how loud the perceived volume would be if every Alexa-enabled device in the world were gathered in one place and, using the speaker for the Echo – the most common Alexa-enabled device – played the song ‘Despacito’ at the same time, assuming the sound produced by the Echo’s speakers is perfectly in phase and undergoes only constructive interference. It is calculated that the volume would be 159 dB, equivalent to a shotgun blast. The maximum distance at which this would be audible over background noise of 50 dB is then calculated using the inverse square law relating sound intensity and distance, and is found to be 28 km.


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References


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