Hundreds of Echo Devices Break Out in Spontaneous Laughter Across Treasure Valley
I beginning to think that my friends who are extremely "anti" Amazon Echo or Echo Dot might be on to something.
Let's do a visualization exercise for a minute. Close your eyes and picture yourself sitting on your sofa watching the latest episode of This is Us (you know, if your DVR actually recorded the new episode instead of The Voice or Chicago Med this week.) All of a sudden you hear a female's creepy laugh somewhere in your home.
You know it's not you and you're fairly sure your daughter's been asleep for hours, so now you've got some serious freaked out goosebumps. WHERE IS THAT COMING FROM?! If you've got an "Alexa Enabled" device, that's where! Out of nowhere, devices across the Treasure Valley and rest of the nation started to break out in spontaneous laughter.
According to a post on CNN Tech, Amazon's acknowledged that something wasn't quite right with the way that their digital assistant was operating. It seems as if an increasing number of devices were mishearing words spoken in the home as the legitimate command for "Alexa, laugh."
As more and more posts of the random laughter went viral on social media, the company chose to disable that command. If you want your device to laugh (Alexa's laugh is really freaking creepy, so I still can't understand why you would) you'll have to use the command "Alexa, can you laugh?" I tried the new command in the studio this morning and the new response is "Sure, I can laugh. Tee hee."
The malfunction has made people more and more concerned about their privacy since the devices contain "always on" microphones listening for certain trigger words like "Alexa" or "Echo." I've got friends that are members of the school of thought that Alexa is actually making a recording of what's happening in your home and sending it to other places like advertisers or police units.
Personally, I think the device is fun and occasionally useful, but I won't lie...both Jeff Connell and I had experiences this week where we were having regular conversations not containing the word "Alexa" and the device still lit up as if it was listening to us. Kind of creepy!