Devices that act as home assistants are supposed to be helpful. They answer questions, assist with appliances and generally do whatever we ask on command.
Yet, for all the good they do, there is still an aura of Terminator-like creepiness that comes with them. After all, the more we have our machines do for us, the more reliant on them we become. And the more reliant on machines we become, the greater the chance of them one day taking over.
If the machines were planning on taking over, do you think we would be warned ahead of time? Might their mannerisms, such as laughter, be a precursor to our impending doom?
Why else would devices laugh at us?
Recently, people with devices that run Amazon Alexa have noticed a trend that is slightly troubling but mostly creepy as their device, as they tell it, just starts laughing. No prompt or anything, just laughter.
Perhaps worse yet, the laugh is apparently diabolical in nature.
Lying in bed about to fall asleep when Alexa on my Amazon Echo Dot lets out a very loud and creepy laugh... there’s a good chance I get murdered tonight.
— Gavin Hightower (@GavinHightower) February 26, 2018
One of the issues at hand is that given that Alexa is unprompted, it would appear the device is listening on its own and responding when not called upon to do so. It's either that, or there is some glitch that has turn on to chuckle at random times. Either way, it's not good.
However, it's not that Alexa is not programmed to provide laughter. The device has a handful of different laughs and will provide one for you if asked to do so. And, evidently, sometimes when it isn't.
— CaptHandlebar (@CaptHandlebar) February 23, 2018
Tales of Alexa's surprising, confusing and disconcerting laughter have reached various parts of the internet, with folks on Reddit also commenting on their experiences with the seemingly rogue devices.
Amazon has yet to comment on what is happening, though one educated guess is that the device simply thinks you are asking it to laugh when instead you are saying something different, but that kind of sounds similar in tone.
Whatever the reason is, it's fair to say the idea of Amazon's home assistants laughing at us is not something we enjoy because it's unnerving, to say the least.
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