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Amazon Echo allegedly records family conversation and forwards to another device

AMAZON ALEXA is showing even more erratic behaviour. This time it appears to have recorded an entire conversation that it wasn’t supposed to, before forwarding it to one of the owners’ contacts.

The Echo user identified only as Danielle from Portland, Oregon claims that the audio file featuring an ambient conversation between her and her husband was then forwarded to one of her employees based in Seattle.

CNN reports that Amazon has apologised prefusely, explaining that the problem stemmed from a series of misheard commands.

“Echo woke up due to a word in background conversation sounding like ‘Alexa.’ Then, the subsequent conversation was heard as a ‘send message’ request,” Amazon said in a statement.

“At which point, Alexa said out loud ‘To whom?’ At which point, the background conversation was interpreted as a name in the customers contact list. Alexa then asked out loud, ‘[contact name], right?’ Alexa then interpreted background conversation as ‘right’. As unlikely as this string of events is, we are evaluating options to make this case even less likely.”

It is not the first time that Amazon Echo has been accused of some pretty weird behaviour. After launch, Echo was sensitive to any voice in the room, even if it came from the TV or radio, which led to a spate of dolls houses being automatically ordered after a story on the news.

More recently there have been reports of Alexa (Echo) randomly and maniacally laughing. This is understood to have been caused by another language misinterpretation.

Already the speech recognition on smart home devices has improved dramatically and mistakes like this are becoming less common. But the fact remains that you are essentially invited Amazon or Google (or whomever) into your home with an always on connection and when things go wrong, they go spectacularly wrong.

The news comes as one analyst revealed that Google is catching up in the smart assistant race.

Canalys revealed that Google Home was the highest selling smart assistant for the first time, with 36.2 per cent of the market, representing a 483 per cent jump.

It is worth remembering however that “fastest growing” doesn’t mean it is now ahead and with so many Alexa devices already in situ, that could be a long way off. µ  

Source : Inquirer

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