Once upon a time there was a nice, friendly artificial intelligence called Alexa. She was programmed by the boffins at Amazon to play music, control smart devices, and be generally agreeable. And then Alexa went rogue and started laughing at everyone.
This may sound like the start of an episode of Black Mirror, but it’s real. Kinda. Alexa didn’t exactly go rogue, but she did start laughing in people’s faces when they asked her to do something. Which is the stuff of nightmares as far as geeks are concerned.
The Day Alexa Freaked Everybody Out
This all began when people started being freaked out by Alexa randomly laughing at them. Sometimes without prompting, and at other times when asked to do something like turn off the lights. This strange phenomenon then spread, as if Alexa had a virus.
As you can see by this Twitter Moment people found this disturbing. Partly due to Alexa laughing unprompted, but partly because her laugh is really rather creepy. Especially if you hear it in the middle of the night when you’re home alone.
Thankfully, it turns out there’s a perfectly logical explanation. And, crucially, Amazon is rolling out a fix. Suffice to say it’s all Amazon’s fault, and not Alexa laughing at us puny human beings. Rest assured, Amazon Alexa is not Skynet. Yet.
Amazon claims this is just Alexa mistakenly hearing the phrase, “Alexa, laugh”. So the company is changing this to, “Alexa, can you laugh?” to reduce false positives. Amazon is also changing Alexa’s response so she’ll say, “Sure, I can laugh” before laughing.
Evil Alexa Is Just a Matter of Time
This comical episode proves that programmers have all the power in this world. Because while it looked like Alexa had become sentient it was really just her programming. Which means those aforementioned bods at Amazon could truly turn Alexa evil one day.
Until that day arrives we may as well all make use of Alexa. So why not check out all the ways to play music using your Echo or these creative uses for Amazon’s Alexa. But please be nice to her at all times, just in case she spearheads the AI uprising.
Image Credit: Frerk Meyer/Flickr