AFTER BEING the belle of the ball at last week's CES in Las Vegas, Amazon's always on Echo speaker has been ordering rocking horses willy-nilly after it mistook that person of the telly for her Master's voice.
To make it worse, the news report in question was a report that reported on another report about Alexa making spontaneous Amazon orders to Amazon.
The story told of a little girl who had asked Alexa, "can you play dollhouse with me and get me a dollhouse?", which resulted in the delivery of a £159 KidKraft Sparkle mansion poppet-abode as well as 4lb of cookies (apparently there was some discussion of cookies, deal with it, we don't have the full transcript).
At the end of the story as reported on the CW6 news in San Diego, Ron Burgundy (or whatever) turns to his co-anchor Veronica Corningstone (or whoever) and utters the immortal line, "I love the little girl, saying ‘Alexa ordered me a dollhouse,'"
(Which given that's the entire story is a bit of generalisation?)
Suddenly, all across San Diego, Echo devices began trying to order dolls houses for unsuspecting San Dieguns (San Diegoites? San Diegons?).
At the moment, Alexa voice technology is still primitive enough not always to be able to distinguish between household members, but the machine learning algorithms are getting better the more they are used.
In the meantime, Amazon has already confirmed that it will accept returns on accidental orders and suggests a voice confirmation code for orders placed on Alexa devices. This is controlled from the Alexa app.
We've seen first hand that Echo devices are not above taking their orders from the black mirror. Adverts for Echo on the TV invariably trigger Echo devices but also things like sponsorship bumpers for "Lexus" cars have been sending ours doolally over Christmas, and on one occasion Dacia too.
Last week we showed you why Alexa is definitely not a toy after it misheard a request for a song about diggers as "Take me to pleasure town". This only proves the point. Keep out of reach of children and stay classy, San Diego. µ
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