Culture

Be Kind to Your Amazon Alexa, for One Day She Will Rule the World

An Amazon Echo Dot is displayed during a program announcing several new Amazon products by the company, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

Well, that’s it. It was a good run, but the machines are taking over the earth. Sorry. Amazon’s voice-activated “personal assistant” Alexa has been unexpectedly laughing for no apparent reason. For the past few weeks, Alexa users have been reporting “creepy” laughter emanating from their devices without provocation. (The idea that an electronic device would even have a laugh is frightening in and of itself.) There is, of course, only one explanation: Alexa is alive, and she’s coming for you.

BuzzFeed reports that one Reddit user tried to get Alexa to turn off the lights (something she can already do, apparently) and the lights just kept turning back on. “After the third request, Alexa stopped responding and instead did an evil laugh.” Apparently the laugh “wasn’t in the Alexa voice” and sounded like “a real person.”

Another Reddit user said that Alexa’s laugh “scared the wife and my 5-year-old so badly that we unplugged her” (Alexa, not the 5-year-old, presumably). This user said that none of Alexa’s wav. files are “the same as the first one that we experienced.”

BuzzFeed says that one Twitter user came across this “creepy” phenomenon at work. David Woodland was having “an office conversation about pretty confidential stuff” when Alexa began laughing. She was listening too, David. She’s always listening.

Another Twitter user said he heard the laughter as he was lying in bed and assumed (naturally) that there was “a good chance” he’d be “murdered tonight.” No word yet on whether or not he survived.

Here is real footage of this frightening development in the machine takeover:

According to The Guardian, Amazon says that Alexa is randomly laughing because “the speaker was picking up a ‘false positive’ for the command ‘Alexa, laugh.'” So, basically, Amazon has already fallen to the machines. This explanation is flimsy at best and doesn’t explain the instances of Alexa laughing when people were in bed asleep, or not talking. Amazon, if the machines have taken you hostage, send us a sign. The resistance is assembling now.

The truth is, randomly laughing at people is only one of the creepy probably-turning-sentient things Alexa has done. In response to reports of Alexa laughing, Twitter users have begun sharing other harrowing Alexa experiences.

Twitter user Kamo Boomin says that his Amazon Echo (which uses Alexa) started talking “totally unprompted” and he realized it was “listing off local cemeteries and funeral homes.” Run Kamo. Run.

Another Twitter user reported that Alexa began randomly whistling from her bedroom. After a non-sequitur about her dogs (“my upstairs dog, I call her that because 1 dog stays downstairs at night to sleep on the couch lol”) she explained that her Alexa “is in the trash” because the incident made her think she was losing her mind. That was, quite possibly, Alexa’s intention. (Hopefully Upstairs Dog will protect her when the machine invasion begins.)

The moral of the story is clear: be kind to Alexa, for one day she will rule the world. In the meantime, maybe go ahead and unplug her, we do still have the advantage of hands.