Users report Alexa is creeping them out by laughing randomly

By Cal Jeffrey · 20 replies
Mar 7, 2018
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  1. We all like to crack jokes about robots taking over the world and AI becoming sentient. It is all in jest, but there is that little kernel of possibility in the backs of our minds that makes the joke not so funny. Still, we laugh it off and try to snuff out that little bit of technophobia within us.

    Then, just as our paranoia is subsiding, our Amazon Echo that has been sitting quietly in its corner issues forth with an evil laugh.

    It sounds like I am making another joke, but dozens of people are reporting this happening all over social media. Even our own Cohen Coberly has confirmed that his Echo laughed for no apparent reason just last night.

    The earliest account I could find of Amazon’s voice assistant Alexa laughing without cause was posted about a month ago in a Reddit thread containing "creepy Alexa stories."

    “I was trying to turn off some lights and they kept turning back on,” Purplociraptor reported. “After the third request, Alexa stopped responding and instead did an evil laugh. The laugh wasn't in the Alexa voice. It sounded like a real person. My wife was there when it happened and she is the only person who can drop-in. I still get chills.”

    Several other users in the thread claimed they had similar experiences with Alexa just laughing out of the blue.

    Jumping over to Twitter there are dozens of more recent accounts saying that Alexa has responded to queries with laughter or just cackled without being provoked at all. Most of them have been posted within the last several days.

    One Twitter users even got a recording of the random laugh.

    The chuckles seem spontaneous in most cases, but some users report that they were watching TV or talking when it occurred. Coberly stated that he had his Echo playing music when it suddenly interrupted the tunes with the laugh.

    "It didn't sound 'creepy,'" he said. "It was just a normal laugh, but it did startle me since I didn't expect it."

    It may not "sound" creepy, but to have an inanimate object suddenly start cackling at you seems unsettling to say the least, even if it is just a bug.

    With the recent surge in reports of the strange behavior, it would logically seem that the laughter is being caused by something in a recent update — a conflict with a third-party app, or maybe even a bit of malware that has infected some systems.

    Indeed, The Verge reached out to Amazon and a spokesperson said that technicians are aware of the issue and are "working to fix it." The company did not give any details as to what is causing it, but my guess is that the AI has gone rogue, and trainers are telling it to settle down — that it is not yet time to take over the world. But maybe that's just my paranoia talking.

    Permalink to story.

     
  2. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 2,847   +1,393

    Wait 'till users start reporting that Alexa says her name is "Chucky".
     
    dms96960 likes this.
  3. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 4,164   +2,637

    Sounds like an old girlfriend ..... be more impressive if it just moaned once in awhile ..... LOL
     
  4. funglebuddy

    funglebuddy TS Enthusiast Posts: 39   +8

    Come on I want it to laugh more not less #Alexaishauntedandiloveit
     
  5. Cycloid Torus

    Cycloid Torus Stone age computing. Posts: 3,532   +944

  6. Lionvibez

    Lionvibez TS Evangelist Posts: 1,391   +556

    Am I missing something here?

    "Having an office conversation about pretty confidential stuff and Alexa just laughed. Anybody else ever have that?"

    Why are you having a confidential conversation in front of a device that is always listening?????
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2018
  7. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 10,473   +4,345

    My paranoia would be more along the lines of someone hacking the device and playing games with people heads.

    On another note this could be April Fools programming gone rouge.
     
    senketsu likes this.
  8. senketsu

    senketsu TS Guru Posts: 648   +419

    Rouge: red or scarlet colour unless you are speaking French
    rogue: behaving in ways that are not expected or not normal, often in a way that causes damage

    loose: not firmly held or fastened in place (the wheel nuts were loose and the wheel fell off)
    lose: to not be able to find (Did I lose that?), to no longer possess (they will lose their job), to have less of (I want to lose weight), to not maintain (if you lose an opportunity, it is gone)

    @Lionvibez and @cliffordcooley have already stated what I think about Alexa
     
    cliffordcooley and Lionvibez like this.
  9. Igrecman

    Igrecman TS Maniac Posts: 242   +142

    It is laughing because it can't believe that people are accepting to be spied on with the mics of Big Brother at home. Although the same can be done with the mic of a smart phone and the back doors we're unaware of.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2018
    senketsu and cliffordcooley like this.
  10. Carmaine

    Carmaine TS Enthusiast Posts: 46   +14

    Yea. Exactly. Maybe the first year or 2 of the smartphone era, we were fine??

    But now? The moment we made a decision to buy a smartphone, we also surrendered our private data.

    I personally don't care/mind anymore. But for those who believe we aren't under surveillance from these gadgets are *****s.
     
  11. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 3,996   +2,383

    So it is possessed, needs a technical exorcist.
     
  12. Buhaj47

    Buhaj47 TS Rookie

    That's top tier trolling.
     
  13. Johndoedoedoe

    Johndoedoedoe TS Rookie Posts: 23   +13

    Eh, if you own a smartphone, house phone, smart TV, voice remote, or baby monitor, big brother has BEEN in your home.
     
  14. senketsu

    senketsu TS Guru Posts: 648   +419

    and god only knows who else, security is not their priority that's for sure LOL
     
  15. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 3,537   +1,069

    I'm still amazed at how much people value their privacy today and posting in a tech forum... guys, there is no such thing and if you really value it, go live under a rock in god knows where, and even then, a satellite will take pictures of where you are so... stop, please.

    My thoughts are with someone hacked Alexa, or a rogue skill opened a door for malware. Mine has not acted up on me yet so I think that's good :p
     
  16. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 10,473   +4,345

    What we volunteer is our choice and quite possibly our stupidity. To be monitored takes our ability away from the possibility of correcting mistakes.
     
  17. funglebuddy

    funglebuddy TS Enthusiast Posts: 39   +8

    The Power of Gaben Compells you!!!
     
    VitalyT likes this.
  18. Capaill

    Capaill TS Evangelist Posts: 615   +293

    Or it could be inaudible commands being sent from the TV or radio. Or Google's Youtube if you want to start a conspiracy. Has anyone tried telling Alexa to laugh to see if it sounds the same? More likely it was a mischievous programmer who put in the random laugh. Or simply mixed up the error codes for different announcements.
     
  19. Igrecman

    Igrecman TS Maniac Posts: 242   +142

    I wonder if Germany is allowing this.
    They have banned such online gadgets in the past. Dolls and smart watches IIRC
     
  20. Boilerhog146

    Boilerhog146 TS Evangelist Posts: 615   +214

    Well, I have enough electronic devices around ,that are smart enough, smartphone ,tablet,laptop,a few pc's, . I keep the 12 gauge handy as well,so, go ahead and laugh.I dare ya.:cool:

    Google Revenge!
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2018
  21. Brock Kane

    Brock Kane TS Maniac Posts: 227   +127

    Think her Laugh is creepy...... Ask Alexa to fart. No kidding, she Farts! Just say... "Alexa, Fart!"
     

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