Wednesday, 19 September, 2018

Amazon's Alexa users rattled by its unprompted creepy laugh

Alexa the Amazon Echo's assistant has a long history of unsettling behaviour Alexa the Amazon Echo’s assistant has a long history of unsettling behaviour
Sandra Phillips | 10 March, 2018, 00:29

Darker posts wondered playfully whether fears about artificial intelligence turning on humans were coming real. Apparently it seems that it is due to Alexa misunderstanding certain commands, which in turn has prompted it to laugh.

In a statement, Amazon said: "In rare circumstances, Alexa can mistakenly hear the phrase 'Alexa, laugh'".

Amazon has changed the phrase necessary to make Alexa laugh to, "Alexa, can you laugh?", which should be less likely to generate false positives. To end a "conversation" you can say something like "thank you" or "stop" while Alexa is listening for a follow-up.

Alexa, Amazon's digital assistant, has been busting out with a weird laugh at random intervals for some users, freaking them out. The tweet included a picture of a multi-story, modern book shop overlaid with "The Bookstore That Enslaved Humanity".

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Amazon is also changing Alexa's response to that command: rather than have the assistant laugh right away, its cackling will be preceded by the sentence, "Sure, I can laugh".

Making matters worse is that the laughter Alexa uses is not the digital assistant's built-in recording.

Amazon's Echo speakers are by far the most popular among those on the market, which includes Google Home and more recently Apple's HomePod. eMarketer estimates Amazon has 70 per cent of the market.

People even took to Twitter to complain one user said: "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".

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