Amazon’s Echo speakers and devices aim to make your life easier, enabling you to speak at a small device in order to turn on smart home appliances, make a shopping list, or do other simple tasks. But having an always-on smart device with an AI assistant in your house also reminds many people of dystopian sci-fi stories, and those comparisons have just become a lot easier.
That’s because a bug in devices with the Alexa personal assistant has recently appeared that apparently causes them to randomly start laughing. Imagine sitting at home alone when suddenly your speaker starts cackling in a more-or-less human voice. It’d spook me, that’s for sure.
Users were reporting seemingly random laughter coming from their smart speakers with no discernible trigger causing it. For a while, Amazon itself didn’t state whether or not it knew the reason behind the glitch. It’s all very Black Mirror-esque, as Netflix’s official Twitter account pointed out.
As reported by GameSpot sister site CNET, Amazon later revealed that the primary cause was the Alexa devices mistakenly hearing “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,'” an Amazon representative told CNET. “We are also changing Alexa’s response from simply laughter to ‘Sure, I can laugh’ followed by laughter.”
You can see an example of the creepy laughter in the embed above. Amazon’s Echo speakers and other Alexa devices are most likely far ahead in the smart-home competition right now; they compete against Google’s Home devices and Apple’s recently launched HomePod speaker.
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