Tuesday, January 10, 2017

TV news report about accidental shopping via Amazon's Alexa triggers dozens of automated sales

An accidental purchase made by a girl when talking to Alexa via Amazon Echo had some unintended consequences when the TV report about it triggered dozens of identical purchases at countless residences with a Amazon Echo listening to it.

If you have ever imagined the abusive potential that a TV or radio spot might have, should it contain things like "Hey Siri" or "Ok Google", then this serves to prove your point. A 6-year-old girl in Texas got her 15 seconds of fame when her family found out that Amazon's digital assistant Alexa had made her wishes come true by automatically buying a dollhouse in response to her asking "Can you play dollhouse with me and get me a dollhouse?"

But during the report, one of the presenters said, "I love the little girl, saying 'Alexa ordered me a dollhouse'" and this simple phrase triggered dozens of similar attempts to buy a dollhouse in residences with Amazon Echo's across the state.

Knowing the (lack of) ethics of many advertising and marketing campaigns, it seems to me that we can start preparing for TV and radio ads to take advantage of similar tactics to make automatic sales (potentially even going as far as having cars roaming around blasting phrases like "Alexa, Google, Siri, buy me this or that"). Better start thinking about covering your digital's assistant's ears whenever you're not around! :)

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