Amazon’s Alexa is Your Laughing Ghost

Amazon's Alexa in Africa

All Alexa users in Africa, raise your hand!

The news of Alexa’s creepy laugh and weird behaviour should have reached you via Social Media. Over the past few days, users with Alexa-enabled devices have reported hearing strange, unprompted laughter. Amazon quickly responded to the report on 7th March in a statement to The Verge indicating that they were aware of this and were working tirelessly to fix it.

Later the same day, an Amazon spokesperson said “We are also changing Alexa’s response from simply laughter to ‘Sure, I can laugh,’ followed by laughter. The company said its planned fix will involve disabling the phrase, “Alexa, laugh,” and changing the command to “Alexa, can you laugh?” Amazon says the Alexa is less likely to make a mistake with the latter phrase.

As noted in media reports and a trending Twitter moment, Alexa seemed to start laughing without being prompted to wake. People on Twitter and Reddit reported that they thought it was an actual person laughing near them, which is certainly scary if you’re home alone. Many responded to the crackling sounds by unplugging their Alexa-enabled devices.

The Report on Twitter

After Twitter user CaptHandlebar reported his experiencing on 22nd February, different people have noted hearing the laughter. It’s sometimes unprompted or appears as a bizarre response to requests to turn off the lights.

Many have related the laughter back to a moment in 2001: A Space Odyssey when HAL 9000 acknowledges his murderous intentions and proclaims, “I’m sorry Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that.” Maybe it’s a sign that having smart devices in our homes is another step toward a creepy, dystopian future where robot overlords rule.

Anyone in Africa experienced this with Alexa yet?

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