Amazon’s voice activated home automation gadget can mistake radio and TV programme for human commands- as some owners found out recently while listening to a US talkshow.
To activate Echo, users need to ask the ‘assistant’ Alexa to perform a task, from playing their favourite song to dimming the lights- provided they have the correct smart home appliances to do so of course.
When public radio broadcaster NPR aired a story about Amazon Echo last week, the shows’ hosted uttered the word Alexa- coinicidentally the “wake word” for the Echo device.
After NPR mentioned the wake word on the air during the program, some Echo owners said that their gadgets began behaving strangely.
One listener told NPR their Echo reset their home thermostat.
Another listener told NPR that when the Echo heard the trigger word, it started playing an NPR news program.
Some passive-listening technologies, such as the Google Now voice-activated assistant that’s available on smartphones like the MotoX, can distinguish between different people’s voices, so that it won’t be triggered by the wrong person.
Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment about
It’s not the first time a broadcast has hijacked voice controls. In June 2014, Xbox One owners found that their games console was perfectly happy to listen to Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul, who starred in an ad for the machine. When Paul shouted “Xbox on” to his machine, theirs also answered the call.