Has Alexa been laughing at you?
Some people's worst fears appear to be coming true, that Alexa is spying on us!
The Amazon Echo's microphones are always listening to detect phrases like "Alexa," and some people worry that they could be collecting additional data that could be used by marketers or even law enforcement. Audio recordings collected by an Alexa device have already been used as evidence in a murder trial.
Now, some people report their Echo is laughing at them. CNN says some users have reported hearing an unprompted laugh from their smart speaker devices. They say the laugh happens randomly, when nobody is using the device, or in response to request to turn on or off lights. Others have claimed Alexa has stopped responding to requests and one even said their Amazon Echo suddenly began listing names of local funeral homes and cemeteries, also unprompted.
What does Amazon say? They say the device can mistakenly hear the command, "Alexa, laugh" so they're changing that phrase to be 'Alexa, can you laugh?' which is less likely to have false positives, and they are disabling the short 'Alexa, laugh'" command from simply laughter to 'Sure, I can laugh' followed by laughter."
I've had a few times when I've had to repeat commands a few times to get Alexa to work, and times when the signal drops out or it doesn't quite get it right, but so far she hasn't laughed at me, listing local funeral homes. That would be a bit unsettling for me too.
How about you? Has Alexa done anything to freak you out yet?