Amazon Echo users report strange 'laugh' sound randomly played by Alexa [u]

Posted:
in General Discussion edited March 2018
Reports of a strange error from owners of Amazon's Echo device range have surfaced, claiming the Alexa digital assistant is making an odd 'laugh' sound at random times, with the noises sometimes made without any verbal prompts, commands, or external forces interacting with the voice-activated speakers.

Amazon Echo Dot with receiver


Posts to Reddit and Twitter found by Buzzfeed tell of instances where the Amazon Echo Dot, Echo, and other Echo hardware emits a laugh. While Alexa does have a laughing sound available by request, the noise produced in these instances have been described as "evil" and "creepy," unlike the built-in recording.

For some users, they say the sound was produced seemingly by Alexa itself, with no verbal prompting made by nearby listeners. Checks of the companion app also showed no indication that the Echo heard a command, not even a potential response to environmental sounds.

In some cases, users claim the sound has been made as an unexpected response to a standard query. Notably, the sound is stored in the Echo and can be re-heard using the "replay" request, used to play back recently spoken statements made by Alexa.

There has yet to be an official explanation for the issue, but online users have made suggestions as to what it could be. On Reddit, suggestions have ranged from someone playing a prank using the Drop In feature, which allows Echo owners to use Alexa Calling and Messaging to automatically connect to an acquaintance's Echo for a conversation, to an errant Alexa Skill.

AppleInsider has contacted Amazon for comment about the unusual issue.

The random "laugh" reports follow days after an Amazon Web Services disruption caused problems for a small number of Alexa users. During the regional issues, which primarily affected customers connecting to AWS US East, Alexa failed to respond to queries, instead reciting verbal apologies, playing chimes, and prompting Echo devices to show the red light ring warning of errors.

Update: Amazon has confirmed the problem to AppleInsider and has told us that "we're aware of this and working to fix it."

Update 2: Amazon claims that the random laughter is from the device misinterpreting ambient noises as a command to wake the device, and laugh. The company has also detailed steps that it will be taking to solve the problem.

"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,'" wrote Amazon in a statement. "We are also changing Alexa's response from simply laughter to 'sure, I can laugh' followed by laughter."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 35
    indieshackindieshack Posts: 144member
    That’s spookey !
    netmageracerhomie3lolliver
  • Reply 2 of 35
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 19,121member
    Sheesh... if I was watching Stanger Things or Black Mirror and something like this happened, I’d be creeped freaked out...
    randominternetpersonmagman1979willcropointmuthuk_vanalingamlolliverguerrowatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 35
    boltsfan17boltsfan17 Posts: 2,160member
    Just watched a video with the laugh. Pretty creepy sounding. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 35
    anton zuykovanton zuykov Posts: 1,031member
    A solution is simple - do not order anything Alexa could laugh at!
    edited March 2018 lolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 35
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,015member
    It’s just the NSA workers on the other side. ;)
    magman1979tallest skiljony0sennenlolliverjdgazanton zuykovlostkiwiwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 35
    physguyphysguy Posts: 915member
    The AI awakens
    magman1979jony0lolliverlostkiwiwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 35
    tmaytmay Posts: 3,669member
    It’s just the NSA workers on the other side. ;)
    It's Jeff Bezos...

    ...swimming in his loot...
    edited March 2018 SpamSandwichRayz2016jony0lolliveranton zuykovlostkiwiwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 35
    All Alexa devices are possessed! LMAO!
    caladanianmagman1979lolliveranton zuykovwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 35
    BittySonBittySon Posts: 51member
    That would be Jeff Bezos.  Laughing at the idiots willingly - nay paying for the privilege of -  allowing him to listen to everything in their households.  
    magman1979RobPalmer9lolliveranton zuykovlostkiwiwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 35
    hodarhodar Posts: 266member
    Amazon has used supercomputers and a huge AI to answer the age old question:
    "What's more creepy than the monkey with cymbols toy that mysteriously claps for no reason?"
    randominternetpersontmaymagman1979chasmlolliveranton zuykovwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 35
    mavemufcmavemufc Posts: 326member
    Thats laughable..
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 35
    sunman42sunman42 Posts: 68member
    tmay said:
    It’s just the NSA workers on the other side. ;)
    It's Jeff Bezos...

    ...swimming in his loot...
    And the entire ad-spamming and information-slurping industry laughing at us, the consumers, for going along with something that makes needless purchases easier while sucking up ambient info. So cool. So sad.
    RobPalmer9lostkiwiwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 35
    Is that like a "ha-ha, suckers!" kind laugh or a "Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha" kind of laugh?
    anton zuykovwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 35
    mj webmj web Posts: 918member
    There is no doubt in my mind Alexa is laughing at Siri. Siri is the most useless, annoying, frustrating, and janky piece of AI, I know of.  Shame on Apple and shame on Siri!
  • Reply 15 of 35
    charles1charles1 Posts: 40member
    ---

  • Reply 16 of 35
    PeteMPeteM Posts: 3member
    Alexa has a Simon Says feature that can be used through the remote. I was messing with it one night and my wife was in the Kitchen I was in the living room and I could hear her talking to Alexa asking what are you saying. She was unaware it was me so I Simon Says "Quiet woman or I will kill you in your sleep" She lost her shit. and came running into the living room screaming DID YOU HEAR WHAT SHE SAID!!! I laughed so hard I was crying.
    roundaboutnowRayz2016[Deleted User]lostkiwiwatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 35
    dewmedewme Posts: 2,025member
    I have also noticed that the Echo that I have sometimes gets confused by sneezes. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 35
    This is interesting, the other day my wife was trying to get Siri to stop playing music on our HomePod and had to ask 3 times before she “laughed” and then stopped the music. 
  • Reply 19 of 35
    saareksaarek Posts: 1,123member
    BittySon said:
    That would be Jeff Bezos.  Laughing at the idiots willingly - nay paying for the privilege of -  allowing him to listen to everything in their households.  
    Perhaps, but HomeKit seems stalled in the market place at the moment. Pretty much every smart home device works with Alexa and most do not seem compatible with HomeKit.

    I've finally taken the plunge, after waiting two years to see what Apple would do, and purchased two Echo Dots. Unlike HomeKit they work with Hive and they work with Logitech's Harmony Hub so my lights, heating, smart plugs and all the devices in my home entertainment centre all just work with voice.

    Apple could still catchup, but every month it gets harder. It's already Alexa first and then maybe Google Home which is sometimes followed up by HomeKit.

    I got fed up of waiting for Apple to properly get into the space they bloody started. I began feeling like the Microsoft Phone users must have felt like when it was iOS first, then Android and then only sometimes Windows Phone.

    I have to admit that I am mightily impressed with the Echo Dots so far. Setup was painless, almost Apple like actually. The microphones pick me up easily, even with ambient noise/the TV on. And best of all I nabbed them for just £30 each, one of the best investments I ever made, should have done it two years ago rather than wait.

    For anyone else who is a primarily Apple based household and has held off waiting for Apple and HomeKit adoption, don't bother, not when what Amazon is offering is so cheap and works so well.

    Oh, and before anyone decides that I probably don't have an Apple centric household, the MacBook Pro, 27" iMac, 2 X iPhones, iPad, Apple Watch and Apple TV would disagree with you.


    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 20 of 35
    jcs2305jcs2305 Posts: 722member
    mj web said:
    There is no doubt in my mind Alexa is laughing at Siri. Siri is the most useless, annoying, frustrating, and janky piece of AI, I know of.  Shame on Apple and shame on Siri!
    Please just stop... and no.. shame on you for posting this BS.
    watto_cobra
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