Amazon works on fix after complaints about Alexa’s ‘creepy’ laugh

By Nilima Marshall, Press Association
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Amazon works on fix after complaints about Alexa’s ‘creepy’ laugh

‘Our Alexa lit up and laughed for no reason. she didn’t even say anything, just laughed.’

Amazon said it is “working to fix” a glitch in devices housing voice assistant Alexa after users complained of being startled by its “creepy” laugh.

Alexa is designed to respond to commands when prompted with a wake word – which in this case is “Alexa” or “Amazon” – but the laugh was reported to sometimes occur without any interaction with the device.

Some reported the laugh occurring when they asked Alexa to perform a task such as playing music or turning off the lights.

Others claimed the voice assistant let out creepy laughs for no reason at all.

Another jokingly wrote: “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.”

Many have likened the laughter to a scene in the sci-fi film 2001: A Space Odyssey where HAL 9000 – an artificially intelligent system – refuses a command from mission commander Dave Bowman to open the doors, saying: “I’m sorry Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that.”

An Amazon spokesman said: “We’re aware of this and working to fix it.

“In rare circumstances, 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’.

“We are also changing Alexa’s response from simply laughter to ‘Sure, I can laugh’ followed by laughter.”

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