While there are plenty of stories of artificial intelligence gone wrong, it seems many recent new owners of Amazon’s Alexa devices have been rudely woken by “bone-chillingly creepy” laughing from their AI friend.
As The Daily Mail reports, some users say their Alexa-enabled gadgets start laughing totally unprompted.
— CaptHandlebar (@CaptHandlebar) February 23, 2018
One user reportedly tried to turn the lights off in their home but Alexa repeatedly turned the lights back on, eventually uttering an ‘evil laugh,’ according to BuzzFeed.
Another Echo Dot owner said they told Alexa to turn off their alarm in the morning and she responded by letting out a ‘witch-like’ laugh.
Alexa is programmed in many voice-activated devices with a preset laugh, which can be prompted by asking: ‘Alexa, how do you laugh?’
But so far, it’s unclear why Alexa is laughing even when users don’t ask her to.
As if that wasn’t bizarre enough, Amazon also has a ‘Laugh Box’ skill, which lets users play different types of laughter, such as a ‘baby laugh’ or a ‘sinister laugh.’
While initially just thought to be an internet joke, The Verge reports that Amazon has now responded to the creepiness in a statement to The Verge, saying, “We’re aware of this and working to fix it.”
As The Verge’s Shannon Liu concludes, many have related the laughter back to a moment in 2001: A Space Odyssey when HAL 9000 turns evil and says, “I’m sorry Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that.” Maybe it’s a sign that having smart devices in our homes is another step toward a creepy, dystopian future where robot overlords rule. When does that Terminator sequel come out again?
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So far ‘Russian hackers’ have not been blamed for this “creepy” laughter… though we suspect it will not be long.