Alexa Is Randomly Laughing, But Nobody's in on the Joke
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As The Sacramento Bee reports, some Alexa users have heard random giggles from the virtual assistant in recent weeks. Moreover, people are saying that the laugh they're hearing isn't in Alexa's usual voice, which makes the experience even creepier.
"I was trying to turn off some lights and they kept turning back on," one Reddit user posted last month. "After the third request, Alexa stopped responding and instead did an evil laugh. The laugh wasn't in the Alexa voice. It sounded like a real person. My wife was there when it happened and she is the only person who can drop-in. I still get chills."
Several Twitter users have recently reported similar experiences, and one person even managed to capture it on video:
Yes, everyone, this is real. Its a JBL Bluetooth speaker paired with the Echo Dot. Technology is evil. I live on a Native American burial ground. Robots are coming for us all.— CaptHandlebar (@CaptHandlebar) March 7, 2018
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
WHY DID MY ALEXA JUST LAUGH OUT OF THE BLUE?!?!?!?— Kyle Fitzy Shanklin (@kylefitzy8) March 4, 2018
Turns out, these users aren't being overly dramatic or hallucinating these strange LOLs. In a Wednesday statement to PCMag, Amazon confirmed this is an actual thing that's happening.
The online retail giant said that "in rare cases, Alexa can mistakenly hear the phrase 'Alexa, laugh.'"
"We are changing that phrase to be 'Alexa, can you laugh?' which is less likely to have false positives, and we are disabling the short utterance 'Alexa, laugh,'" Amazon said. "We are also changing Alexa's response from simply laughter to 'Sure, I can laugh' followed by laughter.'"
News of this Alexa oddity comes after the service went down for several hours last week. During the outage, Echo device owners reported seeing red rings rather than blue, as well as a variety of error messages, including: "I'm having trouble understanding right now. Please try a little later"; "I'm not sure what went wrong" and "Sorry, your Echo lost its connection." That outage was, strangely, a case of life imitating advertising.