Thursday, March 8, 2018

Amazon Echo Is Laughing Creepily At Us

Is the random laughter coming from Amazon Echo's
Alexa a sign that she's turned evil and murderous?
I'm glad I read the NPR article I'm about to cite before Alexa, the voice on my and everybody else's  Amazon Echo could scare the daylights out of me.

Apparently, Alexa has been breaking out in creepy laughter for no apparent reason.

Here's how NPR describes the typical scenario, kind of like a teaser for a horror movie:

"Late at night, in the gathered shadows of your bedroom, you may have heard it. Or, perhaps you heard it over breakfast with your family in the kitchen, the sound rising unbidden from over your shoulder in a corner of the room you had thought - and now, desperately wish - to be empty. 

Laughter. Quick, inhuman laughter."

Normally, to get Alexa to talk and give you information, you have to say the name Alexa and ask your question. Example: "Alexa: How old is Alex Trebek?" (For the record, Alexa tells me Trebek is 77 years old.)

If you don't ask Alexa any questions, she's supposed to keep her mouth shut.

But she's into the laughter lately, freaking out lots of people.   Some people have said when they hear that Alexa laugh it is "time to move" and "the scariest shit I've ever heard."

You can rig up an Amazon Echo to turn your lights on and off. One person wrote on Reddit: "I was trying to turn off some lights and they kept turning back on. After the third request, Alexa stopped responding and instead did an evil laugh."

On Twitter, a guy named Gavin Hightower wrote: "Lying in bed about to fall asleep with Alexa on my Amazon Echo Dot lets out a very loud and creepy laugh....there's a good chance I get murdered tonight."

Amazon explains that sometimes the Amazon Echo mistakenly hears the command, "Alexa, laugh" and does.

I can't imagine a random bump in the night sounds like "Alexa, laugh" but what do I know?

Or are there creepy people wandering around outside and tellling Alexa to laugh from outside the house. Or have they broken in? Yikes!

Amazon said it's working on a fix in which the Echo won't respond to the command "Alexa, laugh." If you really want Alexa to laugh, you'll have to say, "Alexa, can you laugh?"

And in that case, Alexa will respond, "Sure, I can laugh," followed by laughter.

Still, I think this whole thing means we should be paging Steven King.  He's done horror books about inanimate objects before. Think "Christine."

Imagine the fun King could have with Alexa going murderous on people?

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