Amazon’s Alexa Gets Creepy, Starts Cackling

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    The latest story to catch the attention of the internet is one of creepy and unexpected laughter coming from Alexa-enabled devices. Videos like the one above popped up on Twitter and Reddit, among others, and sparked thousands of shares and a drawing an awful lot of attention. While this isn’t exactly a crisis, some of the discussion did to veer into the potential risks of “always listening” devices – a topic Amazon and manufacturers of said devices would probably rather avoid!

    Rumor and innuendo can quickly create major issues for you, which is why it’s smart to stop even the seemingly-innocuous ones in their tracks. Amazon knows this, and quickly released a statement clarifying what was happening, telling reporters that, “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.” We are also changing Alexa’s response from simply laughter to “Sure, I can laugh” followed by laughter.”

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    For more resources, see the Free Management Library topic: Crisis Management
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    [Jonathan Bernstein is president of Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc., an international crisis management consultancy, author of Manager’s Guide to Crisis Management and Keeping the Wolves at Bay – Media Training. Erik Bernstein is vice president for the firm, and also editor of its newsletter, Crisis Manager]

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