Some Alexa users may feel like they’ve been dropped into a science fiction story about an artificial intelligence gone awry.
The virtual assistant in Amazon’s Echo devices has been frightening people with spontaneous laughter, according to multiple social media reports.
“I was trying to turn off some lights and they kept turning back on. After the third request, Alexa stopped responding and instead did an evil laugh,” wrote one Reddit poster on a thread about the device. “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.”
“The alarm came on this morning however we had the flu and was miserable,” wrote another Reddit poster in the same thread. “I told Alexa to turn off the alarm and upon the second request she gave us the most chilling witch-like laugh. It scared the wife and my five-year-old so badly that we unplugged her.”
The Daily Dot suggests the rogue Alexas may be misinterpreting sounds from a nearby television or glitched by a third-party app or a malware infection.
Like the Apple iPhone’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa can play music, order groceries, give a weather report, control smart home devices, shop on Amazon, search the internet and set reminders, according to CNET. At least, when she’s not randomly laughing and freaking people out. Amazon sold about 11 million Echo devices containing Alexa by the end of 2016.
Amazon told BuzzFeed in a statement Wednesay that “we’re aware of this and working to fix it.”
In February, a man reported that his Echo Dot device mistakenly ordered cat food after hearing an ad featuring a voice saying, “Alexa, re-order Purina cat food,” reported The Sun.