An Amazon Echo customer in the US got more than they bargained for from their voice activated Amazon Echo when the wayward AI went on a shopping spree after inadvertently tuning into television broadcasts.
The hi-tech gizmo is designed to streamline purchases by allowing owners to make purchases via spoken words alone, with all the attendant pitfalls that come with such a brave new world.
One such teething issue stemmed from the case of a six-year old girl who quickly realized that the device would never say no and so used it to order her dream doll’s house behind her parents back.
News of her enterprise soon reached local TV networks in the US but broadcast of the story was sufficient to trigger a fresh rush for doll’s houses from unwitting Amazon Echoes recording the conversation.
In the piece a presenter can be heard stating: “I love the little girl saying ‘Alexa ordered me a doll house’”, sufficient to trigger a gadget which cannot yet fathom context or indeed distinguish the vocal traits of individual family members.
Echo owners are being advised by Amazon to switch on password protection to authorize voice activated purchases, which are left switched on by default.