A few weeks ago, social media was abuzz with a ‘glitch in the matrix’ with Amazon’s Alexa. Many people had posted on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram Alexa randomly laughing creepily of its own accord. Needless to say, this startled a lot of people as they had not initiated Alexa via a voice prompt. What’s interesting is that Alexa’s creepy laugh is identical across numerous devices. How this was happening was a mystery to many users.
Amazon, realising this could end up as a PR disaster were quick to act and soon launched a public response that their engineers were looking at fixing the issue and getting a patch update release as soon as possible. It seems this was done through a modification through voice commands, as highlighted by The Verge.
Up until now, there hasn’t been many issues reported with Amazon’s Alexa or the new Echo dot. Amazon’s sales of these two products have been booming. As Amazon was very quick to act on this bug, I don’t really see this impacting their sales too greatly. For the price, these are great AI assistants and I’m sure many will continue buying these products despite these glitches.
2017 was a big one for A.I. We heard a lot about how A.I. technology is taking over our lives. Amazon were probably one of the big winners of A.I. and voice assistants last year, with the Amazon Echo vastly outperforming any of its nearest rivals such as Google Home. Indeed, the echo sold millions of unity just over the holiday period alone according to this article in TechCrunch:
All these devices didn’t break the bank and are very competitively priced. Meaning that they were able to penetrate the mass market. Furthermore, these aren’t gimmicky devices, the wide range of functionality the likes of the Echo, Home etc. can perform is phenomenal. Want to know the time, or the weather in Abu Dhabi? Alexa will only be too happy to tell you. Or perhaps you’d like to use the WiFi Connectivity to stream your playlist, Alexa can assist.
2018 should see the popularity of these Voice Assistants continue, and other iterations will no doubt follow. We’re just waiting for Smartwatches to develop so that A.I and voice assistant technology can be fully integrated.