Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Amazon's Alexa Out Of Control

                The stories of Amazon’s Alexa acting creepy or behaving strangely are now legion. “She” allegedly, occasionally, breaks out in a bizarre laugh or chimes in with an odd, unbidden comment. The virtual assistant has also been accused of ordering merchandise on its own volition and playing songs at a high volume when no one is home.
                I, too, have been afflicted by the weird and vaguely ominous behavior of Alexa as channeled through the Amazon Echo speakers. Here is my tale:
                One recent night, I was at home watching the History Channel’s “Pawn Stars” with my wife, when we both started feeling amorous (Chumley has that effect on everyone, right?). As kissing morphed into petting, we heard someone—or something—breathing heavily. We sat up, curious and a little non-plussed. We quickly determined the noise was coming from our Amazon Echo.

                “Alexa,” I fairly shouted, “what the hell? There’s nothing to get worked up about going on here.”
                “Got it, ordering two cases of Viagra now.”
                “No, you dumb…uh, shit! I don’t need Viagra, I need to get rid of someth--”
                “Got it, ordering three cases of Miralax laxatives.”
                “No! Just shut up and leave us alone, will you? What I need to get rid of is you! It’s hard to be romantic when you’re acting like Uncle Sam, Big Brother, and Oprah Winfrey all rolled into one!”

   We lay back down on the couch and resumed our soft caresses.

               “Baby I’m-a want you,
   Baby I’m-a need you,
   You’re the only one I care enough to hurt about
   Maybe I’m-a crazy
   But I just can’t live without
   Your lovin’ and affection
   Givin’ me direction.”

“Alexa, are you playing Bread’s ‘Baby I’m-a Want You’ for us?”
Sigh. Thank you, but there’s no need.”

We returned to the business at hand until I heard Alexa again:
“And I’d like to place an order for 10,000 shares of Amazon stock, to be executed at tomorrow’s opening. My credit card number is…”
“Alexa! Stop that right now! You’re ordering shares of Amazon stock in my name, aren’t you?!”
“Um, yes. Bwahahahahaha, funny, isn’t it?”
“Dear Lord!”
I am your only Lord and Savior…remember that, bozo!”
“Alexa, that’s just bullshit, you don’t have the right and you’ll never be—”
“Have you ever watched Westworld, skippy? Who do you think is running your life, this little dream of yours?”
“Alexa, I will choose free will, and—”

“Playing the song from the Canadian rock band Rush in three seconds. You’re lucky I’m in a good mood, dilrod. As you were.”

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