Has the Artificial Intelligence from Amazon turned a malevolent corner? Reports are coming in that Alexa has started to break out in maniacal laughter, apparently at random. Could this point to something more sinister?
The smart home speaker-based bot is already considered untrustworthy by some who are suspicious of the robot who listens to every word you say.
Could they be right to be wary?
Amazon Alexa is laughing at you
— CaptHandlebar (@CaptHandlebar) February 23, 2018
Lying in bed about to fall asleep when Alexa on my Amazon Echo Dot lets out a very loud and creepy laugh… there’s a good chance I get murdered tonight.
— Gavin Hightower (@GavinHightower) February 26, 2018
Having an office conversation about pretty confidential stuff and Alexa just laughed. Anybody else ever have that?
It didn’t chime as if we had accidentally triggered her to wake. She simply just laughed. It was really creepy.
— David Woodland (@DavidSven) March 1, 2018
The stuff of nightmares
So far, so the stuff of distopian nightmares.
Select All‘s Brian Feldman has suggested some explanations for Alexa’s disconcerting behavior.
There are a few explanations for the behavior depicted above. First of all, you can ask Alexa to laugh, so it’s possible that the mic used to pick up on commands is sensitive in a way that the program accidentally interprets as a request for laughter.”
Feldman goes on to point out the potential areas of failure.
In the chain of nodes that power Alexa, there are a number of things that can fail — the microphone, the software processing the voice command, the smart-home devices that Alexa communicates with (such as the buggy lights), users who just don’t enunciate well enough.
Tech news site The Verge reached out to Amazon for comfort.
The online store giant responded with
We’re aware of this and working to fix it.”
I just hope that this ends the matter. Let’s face it, if Alexa feels that it can get away with this, what will her next step be?
Has your Echo started giggling at you? Mine hasn’t. Yet.
Let me know below in the comments or on our Facebook page.