Out of paper towels? Amazon’s Alexa has you covered. Does your small child regularly ask for a boatload of candy and expensive new toys? Unfortunately, Alexa may have your child covered as well.The latest Amazon Echo allows users to simply speak commands to your cyber assistant Alexa like - “Alexa, order diapers” and she does just that. Voice command purchasing through Amazon sounds very convenient, but leave any young child alone in a room with a magic robot that delivers wishes to your door and you may be in trouble.
Popular Science reports about 6 year old Brooke Neitzel who wracked up a rather large Amazon bill after asking Alexa to get her a new dollhouse and 4 pounds of cookies. Brooke specifically said to Alexa, “Can you play dollhouse with me and get me a dollhouse?” How could Alexa say no?
And here’s where it gets even weirder. After news reports started airing the story of the 6 year old who ordered a $125 dollhouse from Alexa, new reports began to surface that other people’s Alexa’s were triggered from hearing the TV news about the dollhouse. This caused their Echo devices to order even more dollhouses.
Both parents and other users are finding out the hard way that giving Alexa commands is a little too easy to set off. After NPR’s Weekend Edition featured a story about Alexa, listeners wrote in to say that the audio from the program set off their Alexas to do things like reset their thermostats to 70 degrees.
If you want to avoid these kinds of disaster, you can easily set up a confirmation code with your Alexa App. This requires whoever is making the order to take the extra step of telling Alexa a credit card code every time they want to make an order through Amazon. And you always have the option to turn Alexa’s ordering feature off, which might be a good idea if you’re an impulsive shopper. (Here’s looking at you with the 26 sweaters in every shade of blue and shoes to match.)
What do you think of all the stories surfacing about accidental orders made by Amazon Echo’s Alexa?
Do you have an Echo or Echo Dot? Has something similar happened to you?