A San Francisco man says Amazon's Alexa gave him a very creepy experience last week.
Shawn Kinnear. 30, told the free subway newspaper Metro that out of the blue, his Amazon Echo told him that "Every time I close my eyes, all I see is people dying."
Alexa almost never speaks unless spoken to, and Kinnear clams he didn't say anything to rouse the voice assistant.
Kinnear told Metro that he'd paused his Amazon Prime TV programming and was on his way back from the kitchen on June 18 when he heard Alexa's morbid statement.
He reportedly then asked Alexa to repeat the statement. Alexa told him that she "did not understand."
Generally, if you ask Alexa "Can you repeat that?" she will. But Kinnear didn't specify how exactly he asked Alexa to repeat the statement. While "Can you repeat that?" usually works, "What'd you say?", for example, doesn't always.
Are the robots finally rising up? Maybe -- but there are other plausible explanations as well.
For one, since Kinnear wasn't able to record this incident, the extent to which he may have misheard Alexa is unclear.
Alexa was also, it turns out, saying the name of a song title: "Everytime I Close My Eyes (All I See is People Dying)" by Digital Reality. Kinnear, or another device in his house, may accidentally have said something to prompt Alexa to name that song.
Another member of Kinnear's household (he claimed the Echo belongs to his partner) could also have, intentionally or accidentally, set a reminder pertaining to the Digital Reality tune (or Kinnear could be the victim of a good, old-fashioned prank).
In the Alexa app, Alexa keeps record of every conversation it's had, including what it's heard you say. If you have a creepy experience with Alexa, we recommend you check the app to see what went on.
Tom's Guide has reached out to Amazon for comment on what might have happened here.
Meanwhile, Kinnear is considering disconnecting his Echo.