Alexa's Unprompted Laughs Are So Scary That Amazon's Stepping In

Diply 8 Mar 2018

Smart home devices are all the rage these days, and with good cause: buying a fifty-ish dollar device that connects all the technology in your house and can tell you the weather at a moment's notice is pretty cool.

But in the case of Amazon's Alexa, there's a fine line between cool and creepy.

Amazon released their first Alexa device in November of 2014.

Amazon | Amazon

Now, three-plus years later, the world is full of similar devices, from Google Home to Apple HomePod. Basically, these little Bluetooth and wifi-enabled devices can control everything from the music you play to the lights you have turned on.

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These devices function in a super-intuitive way.

Chatbots Magazine | Chatbots Magazine

You don't need to log in to anything or press any buttons or switches. They're always listening (which is kinda creepy, but whatevs), so you just need to say, "Alexa, [whatever command]", and Alexa will carry it out.

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As is standard with these things, there are always some Easter eggs.

Amazon | Amazon

If you have an Alexa, try it out! Tell it, "Alexa, party on, Wayne," or, "Alexa, who you gonna call?" and see what happens. Heck, you can just ask it what Easter eggs it has and it'll tell you.

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One of these Easter eggs is at the middle of a creepy recent story.

Twitter | @kaitlinmonte

So Amazon built in the ability for Alexa to laugh if you just ask it to. Sounds fun enough, right? Yeah, not so much, it turns out...

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Turns out, "Alexa, laugh," yields a pretty eerie response.

Twitter | @CaptHandlebar

Instead of a hearty chuckle or innocent giggle, Alexa laughs at you the same way a serial killer might. For real.

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On social media, Alexa's creepy laugh has been trending.

Twitter | @GavinHightower

The simple command also yields false positives, meaning Alexa will sometimes laugh without being prompted. I'm sure that isn't terrifying when it happens in the middle of the night.

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Sometimes Alexa gives the creepy response to a totally benign question.

Twitter | @taylorkatelynne

When you ask your smart device to turn off the lights and it responds with a weird laugh, it's time to call an exorcist.

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Fortunately, Amazon is taking action.

Twitter | @Supermom1242

They're in the home automation business, not the serial killing business, so making tweaks is clearly in their best interests if they want people to keep buying their stuff.

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Step one for Amazon: changing the laugh command.

Twitter | @HeyItsKamo

Rather than, "Alexa, laugh," the new command is, "Alexa, can you laugh?", which will hopefully yield fewer false positives and less unexplained laughing.

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Step two: Alexa will warn you before laughing.

Twitter | @RobWaughMail

Rather than immediately laughing, Alexa's friendly voice will say, "Sure, I can laugh," followed by presumably the same old creepy, weird laughing.

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It seems we've tamed the machines...for now.

Twitter | @ParkerMolloy

In 2018, Amazon can control Alexa and tell her to not freak people out. But as she gains sentience, it's hard to know what the future will bring.

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For the time being, smart devices are our friends.

Amazon | Amazon

Even with the creepy laughter, it's just a plastic box of circuits. It can't hurt us, right? Ehh, right.

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