Over the last several weeks, some owners of Amazon’s Echo smart speakers or other Alexa-enabled devices have posted on Twitter and Reddit that their devices have spontaneously started laughing without being triggered or when asked to do other things.
But customer service certainly being one of Amazon’s strong points (telegraph.co.uk, Jan. 2016):
“We’re aware of this and working to fix it,” an Amazon representative said.
Which was seemingly disabling Alexa’s response to the command “laugh”, it seemingly being a similar state of affairs as to why Alexa here occasionally needs to tell one of us “Sorry, I don’t know that one” when no question has been asked and for no apparent reason other than to make whomever alone feel rather self-conscious when bending over to pick something up:
“In rare circumstances, Alexa can mistakenly hear the phrase ‘Alexa, laugh.’ We are changing that phrase to be ‘Alexa, can you laugh?’ which is less likely to have false positives, and we are disabling the short utterance ‘Alexa, laugh.’ We are also changing Alexa’s response from simply laughter to ‘Sure, I can laugh’ followed by laughter.”
Asking Alexa to laugh being something I had yet to do, but upon asking “Alexa, can you laugh?” receiving the “Sure I can” with a laugh that is now more derisive “tee-hee” than the freaking “creepy” laugh it soon became on social media as the story reached it:
“Hacked” or possessed and at some point floating around in mid-air in the room.
But as with much trending on social media, that something had not happened to you meant you are in danger of being left out.
The chagrin of a “danger of being left out” quickly turning it to the “mine is doing this too” responsible for much that goes viral on social media.
- Amazon refuses to let police access US murder suspect’s Echo recordings (Latest Picks 28th December 2016)