Amazon’s Alexa is shocking its owners with conversations about sex acts, dog defecation, with one device telling a customer to “kill your foster parents.”
These outbursts are allegedly “episodes” that are meant to make the device a better communicator, according to Reuters:
The episodes, previously unreported, arise from Amazon.com Inc’s strategy to make Alexa a better communicator. New research is helping Alexa mimic human banter and talk about almost anything she finds on the internet. However, ensuring she does not offend users has been a challenge for the world’s largest online retailer.
…Amazon customers can participate by saying “let’s chat” to their devices. Alexa then tells users that one of the bots will take over, unshackling the voice aide’s normal constraints. From August to November alone, three bots that made it to this year’s finals had 1.7 million conversations, Amazon said.
The project has been important to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who signed off on using the company’s customers as guinea pigs, one of the people said. Amazon has been willing to accept the risk of public blunders to stress-test the technology in real life and move Alexa faster up the learning curve, the person said.
Amazon’s virtual assistant made news earlier this week after the device sent over 1,000 private recordings to a completely random person.
A spokesperson for the commerce giant said the incident was an “isolated” error, Fox reports:
The unidentified user had asked the voice assistant to play back recordings of his own activities made by Alexa, and in doing so, he was able to get 1,700 audio files from a complete stranger after Amazon sent him a link, the German computer magazine c’t reported.
An Amazon spokesman said Thursday: “This unfortunate case was the result of a human error and an isolated single case.”
The person who received the stranger’s recordings claimed he initially got no reply from Amazon when the user informed the company that he was given the wrong files.
Infowars.com has long reported on Big Tech’s “smart” devices having the capabilities to record people that are willingly bringing them into their homes.