In the new ‘Child’s Play’ film, the wicked Chucky doll is reconceived as an A.I. assistant. But what if our real smart-home helpers rebel in less murderous ways?
NOW THAT the “Smart Home of the Future” is finally here, we can shout at A.I. assistants like Amazon’s Alexa to start manipulating our fancy TVs, lamps and coffee makers—then shout at them again when, as so often happens, they fail us. It’s no wonder sci-fi books and movies often assume robots will turn on humanity. That’s essentially what happens in the reboot of the “Child’s Play” horror series, in which the smart-yet-sinister Chucky doll, reconceived as a walking Alexa-like device, goes in for the kill.
We’ve already seen A.I. assistants misbehave. Take the Amazon Echo that blared “Porn detected!” when a child asked it to play him a song in 2016, or the one that shipped a little girl in Dallas an expensive doll house when she asked it to play with her in 2017. (Worse, its connected brethren in other houses that heard the story on the news proceeded to do the same.) While Chucky’s murderous malfunction seems farfetched, we couldn’t help but envision ways our own abused A.I. assistants might soon rebel:
Tired of your verbal vitriol, the miffed assistant silences your morning alarm, in the hope you will sleep in forever and stop all the shouting.
Deciding your friends should help sort out your problems instead of it, the assistant innocently posts all your weird Google searches on Twitter. Yes, even that one.
Upset you didn’t laugh at the rather witty joke it produced on demand, the assistant tells you a relentless series of painful Dad jokes.
Overhearing you reminisce about playing “doorbell ditch” as a kid, the assistant impishly rings your doorbell cam every six minutes—all night.
Sensing another meltdown, the assistant helpfully purchases all 87 items on your Amazon Wish List at once. Who doesn’t like presents?
Frustrated by traffic? The assistant charts an alternative course, “rerouting” you until it finds an abandoned drive-in where you can scream alone.
Noticing you didn’t get much exercise today, the assistant cranks up the pace on your new smart treadmill. Burn those calories. BURN!