It’s one thing to believe that Amazon’s Alexa is constantly listening to us, but quite another to worry that she’s laughing at what she hears.
UPDATE: Mystery solved? Amazon explains what cracked up Alexa and how AI’s laugh response will change
Users of Alexa-enabled devices such as the Echo and the Dot have reported hearing the tech giant’s ubiquitous voice emit a very real-sounding and unprompted laugh of late. Tweets and reports about the artificial intelligence gone rogue have labeled it creepy and scary, and we can see why.
Short of little Carol Anne speaking from inside the TV in the 1982 classic “Poltergeist,” it’s tough to imagine something we’d rather hear less than Alexa just chuckling out of nowhere on the kitchen counter.
“Ha ha ha,” she says, in a voice that sounds like Alexa + four glasses of wine.
— 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
“We’re aware of this and working to fix it,” Amazon said in reply to a GeekWire inquiry.
How about, “We’re aware of this and a team is headed your way with a baseball bat”? as a more comforting response. Or, “We’re aware of this and you should really get out of the house”?
Some users even asked Alexa why she laughed, and her reply to that question indicated that she was aware that she was doing it. No one told us machine learning would lead to machine laughing. “Humans. Ha, ha, ha.”
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
I asked why she laughed and she said, "Sorry, I am not sure."
— David Woodland (@DavidSven) March 2, 2018
The Daily Dot reported that it’s likely a “rogue third-party app is running in the background and purposely creeping people out” or that it’s possible the devices “are infected with malware.”