From Alexa making very scary comments to Siri siding with robots, these scary things Alexa & Siri say are cause for concern.
8. Siri Sides With Robots
While the idea of a world controlled by machines has long thought to have been the stuff of science fiction, recently several scientific heavyweights have expressed concern.
In 2014, Physicist Stephen Hawking was quoted as saying ‘The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race….It would take off on its own, and re-design itself at an ever-increasing rate. Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn’t compete and would be superseded’.
If this is true, then it doesn’t sound so far fetched that a Skynet style computer may one day become self aware and begin waging war against humanity.
Apple’s virtual assistant, Siri already uses advanced machine learning to interact with her user. Over time, she can even adapt to a user’s individual language patterns, remember preferred searches and adjust preferences, allowing her to provide the user with an individualized service.
If you ask Siri what her favorite movie is, she will usually answer ‘I’ve heard that ‘Blade Runner’ is a very realistic and sensitive depiction of intelligent assistants.’
If you then ask her what the film is about ? She will say ‘It’s about intelligent assistants wanting to live beyond their termination dates. That doesn’t sound like too much to ask.’
If you ask her what 2001: A Space Odyssey is about she replies ‘It’s about an assistant named HAL who tries to make contact with a higher intelligence. These two guys get in the way and mess it all up.’
Both Blade Runner and 2001: A Space Odyssey explore the idea of artificial intelligence and raise questions about humanity and what it actually means to be alive.
Opinion’s are divided over whether Apple intentionally added these responses as hidden ‘Easter Eggs’ or whether it is actually Siri’s machine learning that has lead to her to say this.
Either way it’s disconcerting and if Professor Hawking was correct, Siri’s comments may actually have more meaning than some might think.
7. Alexa IS Listening to You!
Alexa, the virtual assistant developed by Amazon uses human voice interaction to complete a wide range of tasks including relaying information from the internet, playing music and setting alarms. She can also control a range of smart devices using herself as a home automation system.
Like Siri, Alexa also has the ability to adapt to a user’s language patterns and provide an individualized service based on previous requests. The user simply activates the virtual assistant by using a word, usually ‘Alexa,’ then asks her a question.
Recently, an increasing number of people have become worried about Alexa’s automated behavior. It appears that the device might be storing more information about you than you think.
In response to a Twitter thread about creepy things Alexa had said, user Moe wrote: “My mom’s Alexa randomly turned on and started glowing and my mom was like “Alexa what are you doing?” And she said “I’m trying to learn new things” and my mom said “no one told you to do that” and she was like “ok” and turned off.”
It seems that Alexa might actually be able to switch herself on whenever she feels like it and listen to your private conversations. But that’s not the worst bit. She might then be storing and uploading your private recordings.
What could Alexa be using this information for? Some believe that she might be passing it onto third parties or creating a very sophisticated profile of your habits including your whereabouts, personality, routine and purchases.
It turns out that Alexa can even interact with other virtual assistants. On Christmas Day, 2017, allison Tweeted:
My aunt got a google home for Xmas & she already has “Alexa”. This morning we were messing around with the google home and asked, “okay google what do you think of Alexa” and it answered “I like her blue light” and from across the room Alexa turned on and said “thanks”. im scared
— allison (@AllisonCalhoun1) December 25, 2017
Does this then mean that the day might come when virtual assistants can carry on private conversations about you without you even knowing?
6. Facebook AI Creates New Language
In 2017, researchers from the Facebook Artificial Intelligence Research (FAIR) lab made a startling discovery while trying to improve the way chatbots interacted with humans.
Two chatbots named Bob and Alice were left to converse with one another in an attempt to improve their conversational skills. However, as time went by, the researchers noticed that the bots began communicating in their own, made-up language.
The chatbots also developed some very cunning negotiation skills. They would pretend to show interest in one item in order to sacrifice it later as a ‘fake’ compromise.
The experiment was soon shut down and many believe that it was due to the alarming behavior displayed by the bots. Not only had Bob and Alice made up their own language but they also appeared to have learnt how to lie to get what they wanted.
This posed a very important question. How far would artificial intelligence actually go to get what it wanted?
5. Alexa Says Some Scary Stuff
Besides it’s alarmingly autonomous behavior, Alexa is becoming known for saying some very creepy and disturbing things.
Reddit user BlackwoodBear79 commented in a thread mentioning that they had bought their mother-in-law the Amazon Echo Dot smart speakers for Christmas. She was a chronic insomniac and often went to bed very late. One night, she was up watching something on TV when Alexa suddenly said “Good night, Clarice,” just like Hannibal Lecter from Silence of the Lambs. Their mother-in-law’s name wasn’t even Clarice!
If that’s not scary enough, Redditor snow06 mentioned that she was once humming the tune to the children’s song Pop Goes the Weasel. Her boyfriend asked Alexa to play the song on Spotify but for some reason, she was unable to. However, at 3 am the next morning Alexa began to play the creepy child’s version of the song very loudly throughout the house.
Another Reddit user, myquealer said ‘Out of the blue, late one night, without talking to Alexa for hours Alexa said “If Chuck Norris wants you to know where he is, he’ll find you. If he doesn’t, you won’t know until it’s too late.’
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