Retail goliath Amazon has promised to fix its virtual assistant Alexa after reports the device was randomly laughing at people. Launched in 2014, the Alexa digital assistant has spread from Amazon's Echo voice-commanded speakers to millions of devices, even cars.
Many users had reported they were using similar phrases to laugh or laughing before the chilling laugh came out. For some people, however, it has seemingly happened at random, while others suggest it has happened when asking Alexa to play music.
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"We are also changing Alexa's response from simply laughter to 'Sure, I can laugh, ' followed by laughter", an Amazon spokesperson told The Verge. Finding nothing, he asked Alexa to repeat the last sound she had made. One report previous year estimated it had 16 million subscribers, which would slide it into third place behind Spotify and Apple, but Amazon hasn't confirmed that number. The company suggested in an email that the laughs had occurred "in rare circumstances" because the speaker was picking up a "false positive" for the command "Alexa, laugh". Now, if you want to make Alexa laugh, you will need to say the sentence 'Alexa, can you laugh?' instead of 'Alexa, laugh'.
This new functionality is rolling out to Alexa now, and in order to use it, you'll need to be subscribed to Amazon Music in either the US or UK. The latest of such occurrences is the odd, laughing Alexa.