Amazon apologises for Alexa's creepy laugh and promises a fix
8 March 2018, 11:18
If you've got one of those fancy Alexa devices from Amazon, you might want to turn it off for a while. Unless you enjoy being freaked out.
The voice assistant has been letting out unprompted and sudden creepy giggles, and scaring the bejeezus out of everyone.
The laugh has been described as "witch-like", and was reported to happen without the device being 'woken' up.
Others have said that the laugh occurred when they asked Alexa to perform a totally different task, such as playing music.
"We’re aware of this and working to fix it,” Amazon said. "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."
Alexa is only designed to respond when prompted with a wake word, which in this case is 'Alexa' or 'Amazon'. But the laugh has been happening without it.
One user tweeted: "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.”
The use of voice assistants at home has been met with caution by many people, as the voice commands are recorded and sent to the cloud for processing, striking up fears of eavesdropping.
It all sounds rather similar to HAL 9000 from the 1968 movie 2001: A Space Odyssey.
“I’m sorry, Dave. I’m afraid I can’t do that."