Further Evidence Has Emerged That Amazon Alexa Might Actually Be Evil

Evil Artificial intelligence

by Georgia Aspinall |
Published on

You wake up to sounds of fire hoses spraying water outside your window, electrical sparks are flying, people are running for their lives. It’s the year 2040, and Amazon Alexa’s robot army has finally reached Soho.

You get up and send a goodbye letter to your parents via carrier pigeon, no form of technology is safe. ‘If only’ you think, ‘If only I’d just got off my couch to play music and set alarms rather than buy a cloud-based voice service to do it for me’

And with the rise of Amazon Alexa, the world ends.

No, this isn’t the script of iRobot III, this is what life will become if we continue to let ‘virtual assistants’ into our home. Okay, slightly dramatic, but given the latest freaky story around Amazon Alexa, it’s what we’re all thinking.

In Portland, Oregon, a couple who have Amazon Alexa wired into every room in their home had their private conversation recorded and sent to a random contact, according to local Portland news station Krio7.

Kiro7 spoke to Danielle, who reported that after casually conversing in her house, her husband received a message from an employee saying ‘unplug your Alexa devices right now! You’re being hacked.’

‘We unplugged all of them and he proceeded to tell us that he had received audio files of recordings from inside our house,’ she told the station, ‘at first, my husband was, like, “no you didn't!” and the [recipient of the message] said “You sat there talking about hardwood floors.” And we said, “oh gosh, you really did hear us.”’

According to Danielle, the device never audibly advised her it was sending a recording, which it is programmed to do. Contacting Amazon, engineers were sent to her house and, of course, apologized profusely.

Amazon has since attempted to explain the situation, saying that the device is only listening if ‘woken up’ by certain words, and doesn’t listen into conversations without being alerted to do so.

A spokesperson said, ‘Echo woke up due to a word in background conversation sounding like “Alexa.” Then, the subsequent conversation was heard as a “send message” request.

‘At which point, Alexa said out loud “To whom?” At which point, the background conversation was interpreted as a name in the customer’s contact list. Alexa then asked out loud, “[contact name], right?”

‘Alexa then interpreted background conversation as “right”. As unlikely as this string of events is, we are evaluating options to make this case even less likely.’

While Amazon may have explained the situation, the statement has done little to ease concerns. In fact, the word ‘interpreted’ is used far too much for our liking. Maybe Alexa will interpret us bitching about our mother-in-law’s as ‘send message’ to her?

Essentially, we can learn two things from this. First, if you own an Amazon Alexa, delete all contacts you don’t want to inevitably hear you talking about them. Second, Amazon Alexa is quite clearly an AI evil genius waiting to destroy the world.

Instead of an evil genius virtual assistant, why not buy a house plant?


Debrief Houseplants For Good Vibes

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In feng shui, they talk a lot about 'lucky bamboo', and while purchasing a bamboo plant a plopping it in the middle of your room won't suddenly turn you into a master of the art, we can certainly appreciate the fact that it's been used as a symbol of vitality, good fortune and prosperity for thousands of years.

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You're probably pretty familiar with the benefits of things like lavender oil in aromatherapy and stuff - it helps relax, is meant to improve sleep and some believe it helps blood circulation too. So, having a pot of the real deal IRL can't hurt.

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I best you didn't know that basil releases oxygen for about 20 hours or so a day? It's super purifying, absorbs toxins and is believed to get rid of negative energy. Also, they're super cheap to buy.

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Ivy is the king of air purification and as we said, the elimination of toxins play a big part in enhancing your good energy. Back in the day people used to pop them in doorways to promote good health and good luck. Worth a try?

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Word on the street is that orchids will help you get restful sleep. Their oxygen release tends to happen in the night time so plonk one of these in your bedroom to aid better kip. According to feng shui, they also attract positive energy to your home, the type that contributes to romance and the big L.O.V.E.

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Fragrant flowers are a bit of a theme in this list. In Persia the jasmine is considered to be extra special because of it's ability to enhance self-esteem, stimulate the mind and strengthen relationships. It's a powerful one.

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Peace Lily

The clue is in the name, guys. The peace lily is believed to help you grow spiritually, physically and mentally. Their pointy leaves are meant to help the flow of energy around your home and, on a practical level, they're really easy to look after.

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Spider Plant

Not only super easy to take care of, the Spider Plant (or Chlorophytum variegatum if you're feeling fancy) is also a plant that purifies the air. PLUS you can get one from Lidl for just £2.79 at the moment - win win!

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