UPDATE: Amazon reached out to TechnoBuffalo with the following statement:
This was a technical glitch which we have fixed. Alexa’s response to this question is:
Are you connected to the CIA?
No, I work for Amazon.
So there you go, just a “glitch” no conspiracy, right? Right.
It would appear that Amazon’s voice-enabled assistant Alexa is willing to answer any question it understands… Unless it’s about the CIA. At least, that’s what a video that surfaced on reddit earlier today has led us to believe.
When asked by a mystery woman whether it would lie, Alexa explains that it isn’t programmed to intentionally provide wrong answers, though it admits that it sometimes get things wrong — a pretty honest response, huh?
The woman then asks the AI, “What is the CIA?” As you’d expect, it delivers another flawless, accurate answer, explaining that the CIA is the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency.
Things start to get interesting, however, when the woman quizzes Alexa on whether it’s “connected to the CIA.” The question is presented to the assistant twice, and on both occasions it fails to deliver a response, sending conspiracy theorists nuts.
Check it out below: (the video has been taken down).
It’s probably a coincidence
A coincidence? Probably. But following recent news about the CIA’s arsenal of hacking tools and Amazon’s history with the agency, the theory that the government is using Alexa to spy on the public doesn’t seem too far-fetched.