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March 8, 2018

‘Alexa, stop being so creepy’: Unprompted laughing is freaking out owners

by John_A

Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

First, she lost her voice, and now, Alexa is laughing at us. It’s been a tough several days for the artificially intelligent assistant, but more importantly, it’s been tough for us. After all, the only thing worse than not being to talk to Alexa is having Alexa laugh — creepily, we might add — at you out of the blue.

So Alexa decided to laugh randomly while I was in the kitchen. Freaked @SnootyJuicer and I out. I thought a kid was laughing behind me. pic.twitter.com/6dblzkiQHp

— CaptHandlebar (@CaptHandlebar) February 23, 2018

As initially reported by BuzzFeed, Amazon’s popular robot helper is apparently chuckling in a rather alarming way, entirely unprovoked by their users. Could it be that Alexa is laughing at how silly we are for allowing her into our homes? Could it be that Alexa is finally letting us know how gleeful she is that the robot revolution will soon come to pass? We may never know.

The Twitterverse has been alight with users complaining about this latest issue with Alexa. One Amazon Echo Dot owner noted that he was almost asleep when he heard a “very loud and creepy laugh” from Alexa. He added, “There’s a good chance I get murdered tonight.” More concerning still, it doesn’t appear as though Alexa is being triggered before she laughs — while the smart assistant is, to some extent, always on, she generally requires the wake word “Alexa” in order to begin any user-facing interactions. But in the case of the laugh, that’s clearly not the case. In fact, another user noted that he was having an office conversation about “confidential stuff” when Alexa started laughing. Needless to say, “It was really creepy.”

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

It didn't chime as if we had accidentally triggered her to wake. She simply just laughed. It was really creepy.

— David Woodland (@DavidSven) March 1, 2018

We should note that every once in a while, Alexa does in fact speak up when unprompted. (I’ve certainly had a number of scenarios with my own Echo Dot when Alexa will pipe up to say, “I’m sorry, I didn’t catch that,” when I had no intention of waking her up.) But to be fair, having Alexa speak a full sentence to you is far less alarming that a sudden, seemingly random, laugh.

CNBC reported that Amazon is aware of the issue and is working to fix it. We’ve reached out to the Amazon team to see if we can better understand what’s happening here, and will update this story with any further news.

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