The rise of artificial intelligence as a threat to the human race is a theme that has been explored in countless films in recent years, from Ex Machina to Blade Runner 2049, with esteemed figures like Professor Stephen Hawking predicting that robots could be our end. So, it is no surprise that people are getting pretty freaked out that their Amazon Alexa devices are spontaneously laughing unprompted.
The virtual assistant does have a ‘laugh’ setting, and can laugh when commanded to. However, Twitter users have been reporting that the device can sometimes laugh without warning, often at times when it is particularly disturbing, such as when they are home alone, when a joke has been told on television, or during the middle of the night.
The Alexa is always listening, waiting for a command word, so it could be the case that it has misheard something on television, or the radio, or simply from conversation. During the times when it has laughed while it is quiet, this is obviously more concerning, but there is a feature that allows you to playback what Alexa ‘heard’, to find out why.
Regardless, it might be a worrying sign that the Alexa is one step closer to becoming more artificially intelligent – which is freaky stuff indeed.