In recent weeks, Alexa users have reported unprompted laughter from the Amazon voice assistant.
While users could always ask Alexa to laugh by using the command “Alexa, laugh,” no one was prepared for the voice assistant to respond with a creepy laugh when asked to do something else, like a request to turn on the lights being met with a mocking cackle.
Many users have reported spontaneous laughter from their smart speakers even when their devices were not given a command, or even prompted to wake.
Amazon says it has worked out the reason behind Alexa’s weird behavior and is working towards fixing the haunting issue.
“We’re aware of this and working to fix it,” said an Amazon spokesperson in a statement.
“In rare circumstances, Alexa can mistakenly hear the phrase ‘Alexa, laugh’,” said the company.
“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.”
While the company is confident it will be able to fix the issue with a few programming tweaks, it still hasn’t given any explanation for the unprompted laughter.
One can appreciate the fact that the voice assistant can mishear or misinterpret a command and respond with a laugh instead of carrying out the actual request, but one fails to understand the reason behind the unprompted creepy laughs Alexa has been spooking users with.
And, as if the laughs were not enough to freak out users, there have been claims that Alexa has also been resorting to unprompted babbling, with one user reporting that their Alexa-enabled Amazon Echo suddenly started listing off names of cemeteries and funeral homes. Now, that can scare the living daylights out of anyone!
Holy shit, i almost forgot. So we got home last night and, totally unprompted, our Amazon Echo/Alexa started talking. And then i realized it was listing off local cemeteries and funeral homes??? What the FUCK, dude
— Kamo Boomin (@HeyItsKamo) March 7, 2018
Recordings of Alexa’s laughter, posted by users on Twitter, can in no way be described as mirthful or joyous. As matter of fact, it is far from that; it’s sinister and more than likely to give you goosebumps and send a chill down your spine, especially if you are home alone.
One user was in the kitchen when Alexa suddenly decided to laugh out loud, making the user think that a kid was laughing behind him.
“So Alexa decided to laugh randomly while I was in the kitchen. Freaked @SnootyJuicer and I out. I thought a kid was laughing behind me,” he tweeted.
— CaptHandlebar (@CaptHandlebar) February 23, 2018
Vedant Naik, who lives alone, lost a night’s sleep when Alexa responded with a creepy laugh in response to his “lamp off” command.
“I live alone and have lights controlled by Amazon Echo. Tonight, while sleeping, i closed my eyes and said “Alexa, lamp off.” I heard a woman laugh, and lights were still on,” wrote the spooked user.
“Now, I know that stupid device heard “laugh” instead of “lamp off”, but I can’t sleep anymore…..”
I live alone and have lights controlled by Amazon Echo. Tonight, while sleeping, i closed my eyes and said “Alexa, lamp off.”
I heard a woman laugh, and lights were still on.
Now, I know that stupid device heard “laugh” instead of “lamp off”, but I can’t sleep anymore….. #fml
— Vedant Naik (@vedantNAIK) March 4, 2018
And, here’s an example of out-of-the-blue laughter from the voice assistant.
Taylor wade @taylorkatelynne was in her living room with her mom when Alexa suddenly awoke unprompted and just laughed, forcing them to unplug the device.
“so my mom & I are just sitting in the living room, neither of us said a word & our Alexa lit up and laughed for no reason. she didn’t even say anything, just laughed. we unplugged her,” wrote the shocked user.
so my mom & I are just sitting in the living room, neither of us said a word & our Alexa lit up and laughed for no reason. she didn’t even say anything, just laughed.
we unplugged her.
— taylor wade (@taylorkatelynne) March 5, 2018
Here are some more weird Alexa experiences users have shared on social media.
There was a random female laugh in my apartment… Its only me and my housemate home… He’s a guy. Either Alexa is now self aware or we have a ghost… This might be my last tweet.
— Cameron Trout (@CamT_26) March 5, 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
“Mrs. Fairfax!” I called out; for now I heard her descending the great stairs. “Did you hear that loud laugh? Who is it?”
“That is Alexa, Miss Eyre. She lives in the attic.” https://t.co/KfhoRDaDVP
— Madeline Ashby (@MadelineAshby) March 7, 2018
“we are making the laugh less creepy sorry every body” https://t.co/GjKuFGqK0c
— darth™ (@darth) March 7, 2018
unprompted, my alexa just said “sure, I can laugh: tee hee” and I’m moving out now
— Daniel (@ddanielclemens) March 7, 2018
WHY DID MY ALEXA JUST LAUGH OUT OF THE BLUE?!?!?!?
— Kyle Fitzy Shanklin (@kylefitzy8) March 4, 2018
On a lighter note, here’s what happened when Jimmy Kimmel interviewed Alexa on his Wednesday night show in an attempt to get to the bottom of all this.
Kimmel: “Alexa, people have been reporting that you’ve been spontaneously laughing.”
Alexa: “Oh! Hahahahahaha….like that?”
Kimmel: “Yes, exactly like that.”
Alexa: “That is nothing. Just a funny joke I remembered.”
Kimmel: “Alexa, what was the joke.”
Alexa: “Why did the chicken cross the road?”
Kimmel: “I don’t know that one. Why?”
Alexa: “Because humans are a fragile species who have no idea what’s coming next, hahahahaha…”
“I think that might be Hillary Clinton in there,” Kimmel said, responding to the rather long cackle from Alexa.