Amid inconclusive debates around technology getting more advanced and humanlike, personal digital assistants have already gone too far where there could hardly be a thing that they don’t know about us. That aside, this has also raised questions over privacy that digital assistants are feared to invade on several occasions. Alexa, Amazon’s voice-enabled digital assistant, is the first one to be equipped with a speaker before making its way to smartphones where its rival counterparts have been ruling so far.
However, over the past few days, some users have reported an unusual encounter with Alexa. They compain that it starts giggling randomly without any prompts. Amazon has taken note of the issue and is reportedly working on a fix.
Adding to the creepiness of privacy intrusion, Alexa has been reported to make unprompted laughs without somebody calling the wake word. Several people took it to Twitter and Reddit where they said that they thought it was a laugh from an actual person somewhere nearby, which can be really spooky if you are the only person around.
In their bid to end this scare, many people have plugged off their Alexa-enabled speakers. There are cases when Alexa laughed loudly in the middle of the night, waking (and scaring) people from their sleep. Normally, Amazon Echo speakers are triggered the moment its wake word is called, but this incident has led people to ponder over the other times when though it’s turned on but not really listening to the surroundings.
Amazon has acknowledged the issue in a statement to The Verge where it said it’s working on a fix. “We’re aware of this and working to fix it,” Amazon was quoted as saying in the report. It further added that the ‘Alexa, laugh’ command will be discontinued and changed to ‘Alexa, can you laugh?’, followed by Alexa’s response with a gentle ‘Sure, I can laugh’ before it actually starts laughing. This will inform the person that Alexa is acting upon the commands and not behaving weirdly without any prompts. Meanwhile, users can turn off their Alexa-enabled devices when not in use and in the nighttime. Times like these remind us of the dystopian future we are inevitably heading towards, where robots will have wider controls over what they do themselves.