Skip to main content

Alexa, stop being so creepy! Unprompted laughter is freaking out owners

Amazon offers a reason for Alexa's 'random,' creepy laugh

Greg Mombert/Digital Trends
Greg Mombert/Digital Trends

First, she lost her voice, and now, Alexa is laughing at us. It’s been a tough several days for the artificially intelligent assistant, but more importantly, it’s been tough on us. After all, the only thing worse than not being to talk to Alexa is having Alexa laugh — creepily, we might add — at you out of the blue.

Son of a…

— CaptHandlebar (@CaptHandlebar) March 7, 2018

As initially reported by BuzzFeed, Amazon’s popular robot helper is apparently chuckling in a rather alarming way, entirely unprovoked by her users. Could it be that Alexa is laughing at how silly we are for allowing her into our homes? Could it be that Alexa is finally letting us know how gleeful she is that the robot revolution will soon come to pass?

Well, Amazon has now commented on the issue, explaining that the sudden snickering is apparently related to the box of tricks mishearing our instructions.

“In rare circumstances, Alexa can mistakenly hear the phrase ‘Alexa, laugh,'” Amazon said in a statement. In a bid to eliminate the odd behavior, the company said it’s changing the phrase to “Alexa, can you laugh?” which is “less likely to have false positives.” And instead of an immediate laugh to set your hair on end, Alexa will now respond with, “Sure, I can laugh,” followed by laughter.

The company confirmed that it will also disable the short utterance, “Alexa, laugh,” which seems to have been causing so much trouble.

The Twitterverse has been alight with users complaining about this latest issue with Alexa. One Amazon Echo Dot owner noted that he was almost asleep when he heard a “very loud and creepy laugh” from Alexa. He added, “There’s a good chance I get murdered tonight.”

Although Amazon’s explanation appears to suggest otherwise, it didn’t seem as if Alexa was being triggered before she laughed — while the smart assistant is, to some extent, always on, she generally requires the wake word “Alexa” in order to begin any user-facing interactions. Another user noted that he was having an office conversation about “confidential stuff” when Alexa started laughing. Needless to say, “It was really creepy.”

Having an office conversation about pretty confidential stuff and Alexa just laughed. Anybody else ever have that?

It didn't chime as if we had accidentally triggered her to wake. She simply just laughed. It was really creepy.

— David Woodland (@DavidSven) March 1, 2018

But we should note that every once in a while, Alexa does in fact speak up when unprompted. (I’ve certainly had a number of scenarios with my own Echo Dot when Alexa will pipe up to say, “I’m sorry, I didn’t catch that,” when I had no intention of waking her up.) But to be fair, having Alexa speak a full sentence to you is far less alarming that a sudden, seemingly random, laugh.

Updated on March 7: Added Amazon’s explanation.

Editors' Recommendations

Why does Alexa stop playing music?
Echo Show 5 playing music.

Echos and other Alexa devices make fantastic music machines. You can link your favorite music platforms, request a song or genre with just a voice command, and enjoy features like the Echo’s well-designed speaker system that really does fill a room with sound.

But sometimes your personal songfest can run into problems. The Alexa voice assistant occasionally stops playing, refusing to advance to the next song or cutting out completely in the middle of your jam. Here’s what’s going on when this happens, and how you can fix it.
Why does Alexa stop playing music after a while?

Read more
5 reasons I still use the Echo Show 15 everyday
Amazon Echo Show 15 hanging horizontally on the wall in a kitchen.

The Echo Show 15 first released in December 2021. Much of the initial conversation around the smart display was that it was a large novelty -- a huge display that didn't have the same functionality as the Echo Show 10. It released in the midst of the work-from-home surge, and without video conferencing capabilities, the Echo Show 15 just didn't seem like it offered much.

That couldn't have been further from the truth. The large amount of screen real estate introduced a lot of utility that previous models didn't have. Widgets make it one of the most useful smart displays I've ever used, and that's saying a lot for someone who routinely works with these devices.

Read more
Panasonic’s smart microwave works with Alexa
Panasonic microwave that works with Alexa.

Panasonic joins the pack of other microwave manufacturers by releasing a new model that works with Alexa during CES 2022. Users can connect the Panasonic Smart Inverter Countertop Microwave Oven, Works with Alexa (NN-SV79MS) to an Alexa-enabled smart speaker, and issue commands, at will.

What makes this microwave so smart? Well, when you connect it to a smart speaker, such as an Echo or Echo Dot, you can tell the microwave to do over 100 things. Tell Alexa to make popcorn or reheat your tea and the microwave will do it. Set up should be fairly straightforward using the zero-touch setup (we're thinking this is done all through the Alexa app) or 2D code setup (typically, that's scanning a QR code). While you don't need to connect the microwave to Alexa for it to work, you can't use the commands feature if it's not connected.
How does it work as a microwave?

Read more