Alexa, the voice assistant developed by Amazon, has time and again garnered headlines for having put an exemplary show against Google Assistant, Siri, and Cortana, however, it has so far been the creepiest of them all
“Every time I close my eyes, all I see is people dying” – the short but overtly concerning statement that could pass as a line from one of the coveted poetries on the philosophical stretch of life. If it were a human voicing the line, people wouldn’t even have jerked their eyebrows, but it was an AI-enabled digital assistant that randomly left its owner “disturbed” after it said these words. Alexa, the voice assistant developed by Amazon, has time and again garnered headlines for having put an exemplary show against Google Assistant, Siri, and Cortana, however, it has so far been the creepiest of them all.
While previous instances have highlighted the strange but lively side of Alexa – when it threw a party in an empty house by playing loud music, or when it began laughing eerily in the middle of the night – the latest encounter rather acquaints us with Alexa’s darker side. According to a report in Metro US, a 30-year-old man, named Shawn Kinnear, was nervously disturbed when Alexa randomly said: “Every time I close my eyes, all I see is people dying.” The man claims to have not triggered Alexa using any voice command.
Describing the incident, Kinner told Metro US that he put his Amazon Prime TV programme on pause and was returning from the kitchen on June 18 when Alexa said that line. Immensely astonished by it, he asked Alexa to repeat what it said, to which the voice assistant replied that she “did not understand”. This is opposite of what Alexa usually does – if you ask it to repeat the previous lines, it will. However, the questions need to be specific as per the commands understood by Alexa. The man did not specify what exactly he asked Alexa in order to make it repeat the line. While a command saying “Can you repeat that?”, for example, garners a response, asking it “What’d you say?” may not.
Kinnear said that Alexa voice tone sounded normal, however, because it was impromptu, he could not record the sound. Terribly enthralled by Alexa’s wisdom on ‘death’, Kinnear is considering to show Alexa the door out of his daily life that involved the voice assistant to inform him of daily news and weather updates. Amazon is yet to acknowledge this incident and release a statement, although it is being speculated that Alexa was possibly repeating the song “Every time I Close My Eyes (All I See Is People Dying)” by Digital Reality, according to Tom’s Guide.