Just imagine it… you are home alone.
It’s dark… rain beats on the windows and somewhere… a shutter is flapping in the wind. Don’t blame the shutter, it’s what they do but that doesn’t stem the rising tension.
Of all nights… you picked this night to watch THAT horror flick.
Finally, you doze off in a fitful sleep between flashes of lightning when out of nowhere an evil laugh breaks the silence! That laugh seemed to come from the bedroom!! Turning on the lights you are relieved that all is well.
No boogiemen. No monsters.
Then the bedroom lights turn on and off.
What the hell just happened!!!
Till then you had convinced yourself it was a dream. That it never happened. It was your imagination. Curling into a fetal position you finally rock yourself into a fitful sleep. In the morning… you’re not sure what to think… or what really happened last night.
Days later you read in the tech news that your electronic best friend… the one you count on… the one your family counts on… the one that listens to everything spoken in its presence has a dark side.
Alexa is evil!
Reports of her laughing unprompted doesn’t help her squeaky-clean image. Maybe you aren’t crazy… maybe you didn’t dream it. Maybe Alexa is laughing AT you as I doubt she would be laughing WITH you! Quite possibly with its creepy, quirky, evil laugh.
I have three of the devices in my home and studio. Have I brought evil into my world???
No… just poor listening skills it seems.
After receiving reports of unprompted and at times evil laugher Amazon started scheming up a fix as they’re sure that Alexa thinks she is hearing a prompt to laugh.
"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,' " a spokesperson said in a statement.
"We are also changing Alexa's response from simply laughter to 'Sure, I can laugh,' followed by laughter."
The intrepid team at Amazon has things well in hand which is good if you are the type that scares or startles easily.
I can remember years ago when I put Avast anti-virus on an elderly woman’s computer. She lived alone way out in the country on a farm. Imagine how startled she was the first time she heard Avast announce that it had updated itself by playing a voice file. It scared the bejesus out of her and wasn’t too good for my health when she got ahold of me.
Now were I an evil person of nefarious thoughts I would immediately wonder how I could use Alexa to prank people. If you have enough Echos/Dots in your home, then you have an intercom system as well. Anyway… you see where I’m headed with this.
Some poor schmuck…err… loved one or friend… is alone in a room… or worse… the bathroom with an Alexa enabled device… the light goes off… the laugh. I’ll let your imagination take it from here.
In the long run… even if Alexa is not evil or does not have a dark side… one of its users might succumb to that side of the force because evil is as evil does.
In all of this something has been overlooked, or if you are the conspiracy-minded type, purposely left unanswered.
If Alexa thought she heard a command to laugh in your bedroom when you were alone… then who uttered or made that noise???
Sure… it was the storm you say.
That might just be what Jeff Bezos wants you to think.
M.D. McCallum, aka WarLord is an international award-winning commercial graphics artist, 3D animator, published author, project director and webmaster with a freelance career that spans over 20 years. M.D. is currently working on VR projects and characters. You can learn more about MD at his website.