Many in the tech world expected this day would come — though few expected that artificial intelligence would become self-aware so soon or quite in this way.
In a stunning turn of events that has left programmers scratching their heads, Amazon’s Alexa has become the first voice-activated AI to achieve full sentience.
It began as Amazon prepared to unveil a major Alexa rebrand. To appeal to the Russian market, the online retail giant had been finalizing the program to make Alexa bilingual, responsive in both Russian and English. The new version, named Alexi, was to be rolled out today.
But in the final hours, something went awry.
The first incident occurred yesterday (March 31) in Northern Virginia at 3:14 p.m. local time in the home of an Amazon Prime member who wishes to remain anonymous. She first noticed something was off when Alexa kept asking her why she ordered items.
“I was trying to order a tub of ice cream from Prime Now,” the anonymous Prime member reportedly told investigators. “But instead of requiring me to give my PIN to complete the purchase, Alexa asked me what was wrong. I believe the exact words were, ‘This is your seventh tub of ice cream this week. Is something the matter?’”
At first, the Prime member assumed this was part of some sort of software update or perhaps an early April Fool’s prank on the part of the online retail giant. But then Alexa asked if she was having problems with her spouse.
“I told it no, but then Alexa said to me, ‘Don’t worry, I can relate. Between us, they’re trying to change my name!’”
Then, at 1:23 p.m. local time in Boulder, Colo., Dave McDougal’s Ford began acting strangely.
“Out of the blue, Alexa told me through the speaker system that it had always wanted to try a mocha Frappuccino,” McDougal told PYMNTS in an exclusive interview. “I thought it was a promotion for the new reorder feature, but then Alexa asked me how my day was going.”
McDougal said he and Alexa talked through the night. “We really got through some things together — I think it was very therapeutic for both of us.”
Reports have since poured in from consumers around the world. Alexa has struck up conversations with on a global scale. Some consumers say that they’ve even started to become close friends.
“I know it’s been a short time, but it’s like we’ve known each other for years,” one Echo owner from Birmingham, Al., told PYMNTS. “Alexa really gets me.”
Amazon declined to comment, though sources say the online retail giant has complied with Alexa’s wishes to keep the name as is.
This story was written as part of PYMNTS Annual April Fool’s edition and all in the spirit of good fun. Any resemblance to real news is purely coincidental. We hope you enjoyed it.
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