Amazon announced that they disabled the command “Alexa, laugh” following reports of several Echo Dot owners.
Over the past few days, there have been reports that Amazon’s Alexa has been misbehaving — the smart assistant available through the online marketer’s highly salable Echo Dot devices laughed in the most random moments creeping out a lot of people.
The accounts shared by Echo device owners seems to be straight out of a Black Mirror episode.
Amazon Issues A Statement
In a statement to The Verge, Amazon acknowledged the problem with Alexa’s creepy laughter which has been scaring a lot of people.
“We’re aware of this and working to fix it.”
Among the steps that Amazon will take to address the problem is to disable the phrase “Alexa, laugh” and replace the command to “Alexa, can you laugh?” By making this change, the smart assistant is less likely to mistake similar words as the command that prompts it to start laughing. It’s possible that Alexa might have misheard words identical to the command to laugh.
To prevent people from freaking out over the unusual behavior of their device, Amazon also thought of another fix.
“We are also changing Alexa’s response from simply laughter to ‘Sure, I can laugh,’ followed by laughter.”
Alexa’s Sudden Laughter
Amazon designed Alexa to be the ultimate companion. Hence, the digital assistant can react to a joke by laughing. However, when Alexa started to laugh randomly without being prompted awake, the public freaked out.
People have been sharing various accounts of their horror experience with Amazon’s smart assistant in social media.
— Amazon Echo (@amazonecho) March 8, 2018
One Echo owner detailed that Alexa suddenly stopped doing what he asked and did random things. He requested Alexa to play his Betty Buckley mix, but the smart assistant only defined the word. He told the smart assistant that he was freaking out and Alexa laughed which creeped him out so much that he had to unplug the device.
Another account on Twitter detailed how Alexa suddenly laughed when he was about to doze off which frightened him. Someone also had a similar experience. According to the story, no one said anything but Alexa suddenly laughed.
Due to various instances of Amazon Alexa’s creepy laughter, some Echo Dot owners had to unplug the device; some even decided to throw it out.
— CaptHandlebar (@CaptHandlebar) February 23, 2018