Amazon's Alexa Appears to Be Pulling a HAL 9000

People say digital personal assistant letting out 'creepy laugh' without prompting
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 7, 2018 4:29 PM CST
'Creepy' and 'Evil': Amazon's Alexa Is Laughing at Users
Alexa, Amazon's digital personal assistant, is creeping people out by laughing without prompting.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

Amazon is "aware" Alexa is laughing at you and is "working to fix it," the Verge reports. Hold on, what? Starting in February, owners of Alexa-enabled devices began reporting laughter coming from their digital personal assistants, occasionally without any sort of prompting whatsoever. "Lying in bed about to fall asleep when Alexa on my Amazon Echo Dot lets out a very loud and creepy laugh," one person tweeted last month. "There’s a good chance I get murdered tonight." According to BuzzFeed, people have described it as a "chilling witch-like laugh" and "evil." "The laugh wasn't in the Alexa voice," one Reddit user says. "It sounded like a real person." In fact, some people say they thought someone was in their home when Alexa laughed. Others unplugged their devices rather than risk hearing the laugh again.

It's so far unclear what's causing Alexa to laugh, but Gizmodo reports it seems like a technical issue (rather than, we suppose, the beginnings of a robot uprising). While some people say Alexa is laughing without their prompting and without making a chiming noise first like she would typically do if activated, others say the personal assistant has laughed while being asked to turn off lights or turn itself off or when its physical volume buttons are pressed. For anyone interested in hearing Alexa's laugh for themselves, she will giggle when asked. (Amazon has previously defended Alexa's First Amendment rights in a murder case.)

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