The Amazon Echo is a magical device. Since users command the smart speaker by voice, it’s easy to get simple tasks done—like setting a kitchen timer, adding items to the shopping list, or controlling internet-connected lights—without having to touch a smartphone.
But a few snafus have also resulted from the fact that Alexa, the intelligent assistant that powers the Amazon Echo, is always listening. In March, when NPR’s Weekend Edition aired a story on the Amazon Echo, the radio segment set off the smart speakers in many NPR fans’ homes. The resulting confusion inadvertently hijacked people’s Echo-controlled thermostats.
Finding unexpected items on your shopping list also appears to be a danger with the Amazon Echo. One owner told Quartz that his kids would would tell Alexa to add chocolate ice cream and other sweets to the shopping list. Other errant items were added because the speaker picked up dialog from the background, or it was simply a case of Alexa mishearing.
Amazon Echo owners recently shared on Twitter the bizarre items that end up on their lists.
The image at the top of this post was taken by Bruce Turner and shared under the Creative Commons license on Flickr.