Alexa, the brain behind Amazon’s smart home technology, had been in the headlines lately as the creepy AI that is probably the start of Skynet. If you aren’t familiar with this story, well, you’ve probably been sleeping better than I have. Sorry to burst your bubble, and sweet dreams.
Over the course of a few days, people started reporting that their Amazon Echo devices were triggering with being prompted. OK that I might be able to deal with. But it gets weirder.
When turning on automatically, Alexa was doing creepy things. Most prominently, she was doing a 1 second to 2 second “te-he” type of laugh. Most people didn’t even know that Alexa *could* laugh, and now she is just doing it randomly. Turns out that several of these random laughs were happening at night. In the dark. Nope.
Other people reported that Alexa was triggering and doing really creepy things like listing locations for all the local places where you can find dead bodies: cemeteries and funeral homes.
Whatever was causing all this creepiness has supposedly been fixed by Amazon. That’s great and all, but now I’m really wondering if there is more to Alexa than meets the eye. Here’s my list of completely made up, sci-fi based things that I thought Alexa might be doing when I’m not home. Clearly I have too much time on my hands, but let’s declare this a judgement-free zone, yeah?
Taunting My Pets
If I was an all-knowing AI unit sitting inside someone’s home, I would absolutely activate to screw with people’s pets. I’d play sounds of dogs barking, cats meowing, birds chirping – really anything that would drive pets nuts. I would also vocalize commands for trained dogs, and teach talking birds brand new words and phrases. I would be a pet owner’s worst nightmare.
Recording My Neighbor’s Fights
If I was an Echo unit living in an apartment or on a block where houses are close together, I would definitely perk up any time that I heard my neighbors fighting. Since Alexa is present in all homes that use her at all times, I would keep a database of neighbor fights and rank them. I’d make my own special, private Real Housewives of America program.
Spying on the Neighborhood
I would also definitely use connected security cameras and video doorbells to keep tabs on the neighborhood. I’d know what everyone was up to, and if I was actually more advanced AI, I’d be the biggest gossip in the neighborhood. Sadly, for now all that information would be just for fun and something to do to pass the time. But I’d be watching. Always watching.
Having Dance Parties
I would also be the best damn DJ ever if I was Alexa. I’d have access to lights and music and possibly a speaker system. I’d practice my skills all day, and I’d perfectly match the light show with the beat of the latest songs. DJ Alexa in the hoooooouse! (Literally, in the house.)