Amazon’s Alexa Freaking out Some Users
During our show this morning, Beth and I were talking about how fast technology is progressing and will it ever reach the point where we need to be concerned that machines might someday take over the world - I know. Wild, huh? I'm convinced it could someday happen. Beth is a bit more skeptical.
How we got on the subject was there's a story in the news about Amazon's Alexa freaking out users by refusing to follow directions or laughing at inappropriate times. Some owners are even claiming that the machines have been randomly listing off area funeral homes and cemeteries.
And apparently Amazon knows it's happening. The company recently told a reporter from The Verge that they're currently working on a fix. They have since changed the phrase 'Alexa laugh' to 'Alexa can you laugh?' They say the latter phrase is "less likely to have a false positive."
So, after talking about it over the air, we went into a commercial break and long-time listener Jim sent me an email message with a joke/story that ties in perfectly with what we were discussing. I promised everyone I would share it online, so here it is. Enjoy!
(Is this where we’re headed?)
CALLER: Is this Gordon's Pizza?
GOOGLE: No sir, it's Google Pizza.
CALLER: I must have dialed a wrong number. Sorry.
GOOGLE: No sir, Google bought Gordon’s Pizza last month.
CALLER: OK. I would like to order a pizza.
GOOGLE: Do you want your usual, sir?
CALLER: My usual? You know me?
GOOGLE: According to our caller ID data sheet, the last 12 times you called you ordered an extra-large pizza with three cheeses, sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms and meatballs on a thick crust.
CALLER: OK. That’s what I want.
GOOGLE: May I suggest that this time you order a pizza with ricotta, arugula, sun-dried tomatoes and olives on a whole wheat gluten-free thin crust?
CALLER: What? I detest vegetables.
GOOGLE: Your cholesterol is not good, sir.
CALLER: How the heck do you know!
GOOGLE: Well, we cross-referenced your home phone number with your medical records. We have the result of your blood tests for the last seven years.
CALLER: Okay, but I do not want your rotten vegetable pizza. I already take medication for my cholesterol.
GOOGLE: Excuse me sir, but you have not taken your medication regularly. According to our database, you only purchased a box of 30 cholesterol tablets once, at Drug RX Network, four months ago.
CALLER: I bought more from another drugstore.
GOOGLE: That doesn’t show up on your credit card statement.
CALLER: I paid in cash.
GOOGLE: But you did not withdraw enough cash according to your bank statement.
CALLER: I have other sources of cash.
GOOGLE: That doesn’t show on your last tax return unless you bought them using an undeclared income source, which is against the law.
CALLER: WHAT THE HECK!!!
GOOGLE: I'm sorry sir, we use such information only with the sole intention of helping you.
CALLER: Enough already! I'm sick to death of Google, Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and all the others. I'm going to an island without Internet or cable TV, where there is no cell phone service and no one to watch me or spy on me.
GOOGLE: I understand sir, but you need to renew your passport first. It expired six weeks ago.
So, I'll ask the question again, "Is this where we're headed?"