Home assistants are supposed to be at your beck and call, without room for error or – least of all – autonomous decision making. However, if we learned anything from I, Robot, it’s that you can never fully trust technology to do what it’s intended to.


Police in Hamburg had to bust down the door of one Oliver Haberstroh, while he was out at a club, because Amazon’s Alexa home assistant had decided to, apparently of its own free will, blast music at full volume between 1:50 and 3 o’clock in the morning. Complaints from neighbors prompted the visit from police and, after there was no answer at the door, they broke it down.

“Alexa independently, without command and without being controlled by my mobile phone, decided to celebrate her own party at full volume,” he wrote on Amazon’s Facebook page.

Amazon suggested that it could have been prompted from a wake-word coming through an open window; however, Haberstroh lived on the sixth floor and no such open window was present.

A PR agency told The Times that Amazon is “talking to the customer to understand the context of the incident.”

Hopefully Haberstroh gets a year of Amazon Prime for free or something for his troubles.

 

H/T The Memo