Amazon working on a fix for random Alexa laughter
Amazon confirmed Wednesday that its engineers are working on a fix for a software glitch that causes its smart speaker devices to laugh without user prompting.
The tech giant said it was “aware” of the bug in a statement to The Verge following viral social media videos of the device issuing random laughter in an otherwise silent room.
“We’re aware of this and working to fix it,” the company said in a brief statement.
Amazon later blamed the glitch on the app mistakenly registering the command “Alexa, laugh,” which produces the laughter sound effect.
“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,” said Nate Michel, an Amazon spokesman, in a statement on Wednesday night.
— CaptHandlebar (@CaptHandlebar) February 23, 2018
Alexa-enabled device owners joked on Twitter that the seemingly random laughter from the devices were ominous signs, though some seemed to take it seriously and unplugged their devices to be safe.
Well, humanity. We had a good run. pic.twitter.com/BrrlCvaf2D
— Parker Molloy (@ParkerMolloy) March 7, 2018
I didn’t even know she laughed. I swear to you it was the scariest shit I ever heard.
Needless to say I unplugged my Echo and it is now sitting in the bottom of s box–away from me.
What’s really weird is that I logged on tell you guys and Betty had just retweeted me.
— Robert #Resist Sandy (@frodofied) 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
Amazon’s Alexa device has been a high-profile target on social media over alleged glitches, such as in January when White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted that her 2-year-old child was able to use the Echo device, which uses the Alexa app, to purchase an $80 Batman toy.
“Alexa, we have a problem if my 2 year old can order a Batman toy by yelling ‘Batman!’ over and over again into the Echo,” Sanders, who has three children, tweeted in January.
-Updated 8:07 p.m.