The Can that Laughs

Amazon Echo

In a turn worthy of a coke-fueled Stephen King novel, reports have surfaced of Amazon's Alexa digital assistant exhibiting eerie behavior.
Amazon is trying to stop its Amazon Echos, powered by the Alexa voice-activated assistant, from suddenly laughing.
The online retail giant told to tech news publication The Verge on Wednesday that it is aware that some Echo Internet-connected speakers have a laughing problem and is “working to fix it.”
Amazon’s (AMZN, +0.53%) acknowledgement of the issue comes after several people have reported on Twitter and Reddit that their Amazon Echo speakers have started laughing, for no apparent reason. People typically activate their Echo speakers by saying the word “Alexa,” which triggers the device to listen and respond to commands like changing the volume.
The latest laughing is causing some customers to feel unsettled and confused. Other say it’s spooky, like something out of a horror film.
Is Amazon's latest piece of yuppieware haunted? Possessed? Inhabited by a vengeful Aztec god?

The more tech-savvy commentators offer an alternative explanation.

QuQu - Alexa
Amen, The QuQu.

Want to read something scarier--and more fun--than the unfolding Mystery of the Cackling Bookshelf Speaker? Pick up the first adventure-horror novel in my breakout Soul Cycle series.

Nethereal - Brian Niemeier


  1. Is it the computer, or is it just Bezos' laughing at all that CIA money he now has?

  2. If he were alive I have no doubt Phillip K. Dick would be sperging out about how much of his fiction has come true. And we let it happen, because "muh convenience".


    1. Good call. I debated about whether to use Dick or King in my example. Then I realized that Dick would be smarter than this.

    2. Brian
      Nope neither writer.
      Who knows what consumption patterns lie in the heart of men? Alexa knows!
      Hommage to the Shadow :)

  3. It's bad enough my phone listens to me, I don't need another spy device in the house.

    1. And your tablet, and your TV, and your gaming console, and...

    2. I think that when the anti trust laws drop. One of requirements will be to either sevetely limit or prohibit data collection.

  4. Somehow, this business reminds me of Clarke's short story "Dial F fort Frankenstein." Give Alexa enough algorithms distributed across enough installations, and she just might "wake up."

    1. It's astounding how many great SF authors issued dire warnings to that effect, yet Big Tech studiously ignores them.

    2. "Big Tech" - D&D Character
      S 8
      I 19
      W 3
      D 7
      C 10
      Ch 16(7) - Marketing(Tech)