The new Amazon Echo is proving to be more of a hassle than a convenience lately. The device has recently made headlines for misinterpreting users’ requests and ordering products virtually on its own.
The Echo’s voice-activated assistant, “Alexa,” doesn’t have the voice recognition capability to respond to specific voices only. This seemingly minor issue has resulted in products ordered by mistake after being mentioned during television broadcasts.
A 6-year-old girl went viral last week after ordering an expensive dollhouse and four pounds of sugar cookies from “Alexa.” San Diego news station CW-6 did a report on the adorable accident, during which an anchor said, “I love the little girl saying, ‘Alexa ordered me a dollhouse.’”
After the report, several viewers called the station to complain that their Amazon Echoes attempted to order dollhouses as the segment aired, Uproxx reports.
Apparently, the device begins recording as soon as it hears the word “Alexa” and waits up to 60 seconds for a command. After that triggering line was said during the broadcast, “Alexa” simply thought she was following orders.
Users have the ability to change the settings in the Alexa app to avoid these mistakes from happening, but by default, orders can be placed on the device simply by voice command.
Users can also set up a four-digit passcode required to make purchases, which is what the 6-year-old’s parents did after a life-sized dollhouse showed up at their door.
Amazon has reportedly said that they will allow free returns of any accidental orders of tangible products; however, it’s probably best to be proactive instead of reactive. Just change the settings to avoid these mishaps in the first place.
As for Amazon itself? It’s clear the cross-market tech company should consider implementing a voice recognition component and introduce a new and improved Alexa 2.0.
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