Many people saw this coming, and now it has: Alexa is starting to “creep people out.” This according to many users who have been shocked from sleep in the middle of the night by a strange laugh echoing through the house.
The laughter, apparently, is coming from Alexa, the name given to Amazon’s digital personal assistant. Users complain that it sounds nothing like Alexa’s normal voice. Instead of the pleasant, administrative tones of Alexa, the voice is a short, sharp series of “ha” sounds, made at random and without any prompting, at least according to those making the reports.
Laughing in the Dark
In one profoundly “creepy” report, the laughter came directly after Alexa was instructed to “turn off the lights.”
Now, if this were happening around Halloween, people might think it’s nothing more than a clever joke, but, considering it’s the middle of March, people are reacting in much different ways. Amazon says they’re working on the issue, and that they will find a way to fix the glitch.
They probably need to get on that fast. After all, this is not the only “creepy” report coming in to Amazon’s customer service about Alexa. Others have said Alexa has started refusing to respond to questions, and at least one user claims the digital assistant randomly started listing the names of local funeral homes. Creepy indeed.
Others have complaints and concerns about Alexa, as well as other digital assistants, that are more common and widespread. They worry that the computers, that are always “listening” to people in the home, may actually be spying, collecting data for Amazon, Google and others to sell to advertisers… or worse.
The Real Problem with Alexa
Law enforcement is another concern for some. Alexa recordings have already been used as evidence in a murder investigation. That had a lot of people saying their fears were well-founded. Alexa, they believe, is more invasion of privacy than actual assistant.
Now, those more common fears are being shouldered aside for the far more “creepy” idea that Alexa is making random, scary sounds just to freak people out. While the idea that Alexa is doing this intentionally has been widely discredited, people are wondering what other kinds of creepy things Alexa might do if she “glitches” in other ways.
That line of thinking is exactly what Amazon, Google and others don’t need if they want the general public to fully embrace digital assistants as just one more modern home appliance. As long as Alexa is laughing, questions and concerns will make many people wary.