Alexa DOWN – Amazon helper stopped working, ‘ignored users’ and wouldn’t turn off
The artificial intelligence has gone rogue
AMAZON’S virtual assistant Alexa stopped working for some users around the world on Wednesday morning.
The mysterious outage meant that Alexa – typically controlled by voice – was “ignoring” user requests.
Outage tracker Down Detector received hundreds of reports about Alexa not working at around 8am UK time – and was resolved about an hour later.
Most of the reports were related to either server connections not working, or problems with logging into Alexa.
A global outage map showed that users were experiencing issues around the world, although primarily in the UK and Europe – which was just waking up.
A large number of reports also came in from the USA, although the majority of America was sleeping at the time.
What did Alexa users have to say?
One user on Twitter wrote: “Anybody else’s Alexa ignoring them this morning?
“It played my local radio station after a while, but won’t do anything else. Just ignoring me. Won’t even turn off.”
Another Brit complained: “Anyone else got a problem with Alexa this morning? Refusing to talk to me, just a spinny blue light and then goes off.”
On Down Detector, a user complained that he couldn’t control his smart home: “Won’t turn up the heating, and is thinking long and hard about whether to turn lights on or off.”
What is Alexa?
If you’ve never heard of Alexa, here’s what you need to know…
Alexa is an “intelligent” personal assistant built by Amazon.
You can find her on several different devices, including Amazon’s Echo speakers.
Alexa responds to voice commands, and can talk back to you.
She can perform thousands of different tasks, including telling you about the news or weather.
But she can do more complex things too, like ordering a pizza or arranging an Uber taxi pick-up.
To activate Alexa, you need to say “Alexa” to an Amazon Echo speaker.
Alexa currently only works in English and German languages.
Because she’s powered by artificial intelligence, Alexa is constantly getting smarter.
Alexa will also get more used to your voice, and better understand what you want her to do over time.
Other users suggested that their Amazon Echo devices were working perfectly, which may have meant the Alexa problems weren’t a total outage.
Has Amazon explained what caused the outage?
In a statement, an Amazon spokesperson told The Sun: “For a short period this morning we had an issue that impacted some Alexa customers’ ability to interact with the service.
“The Alexa service is now operating normally.”
However, Amazon declined to say exactly what caused the outage.
It’s likely that some kind of server issue was behind the downtime: Alexa voice requests are sent to Amazon servers over the internet, and then replies are bounced back, so a problem with servers would cause Alexa to fail.
Sadly, Amazon is keeping mum about the gaffe for now.
Read out What is Alexa? guide to learn more about Amazon’s digital helper.