Woman’s Parrot Imitates Her Voice to Order Fancy Boxes Using Amazon’s Alexa

When parrots speak are they mimicking us or making fun of us? Perhaps it’s a little of both. One thing is for sure, though. If you’ve got a parrot in your house, owning a voice recognizing device like an Amazon Echo is asking for trouble.

When a package containing a set of gift boxes arrived at her door, Corienne Pretorius, a woman from London’s Greenwich neighborhood, didn’t quite understand why. She hadn’t ordered them. She didn’t need or even want them, and yet they were there. As it turns out, her parrot ordered them.

Corienne has Alexa in her home. Alexa is Amazon’s vocal assistant, which you can command to play music, set alarms, listen to the news, and yes, make purchases on Amazon. All you have to do is speak the command and Alexa will take care of it. Magical, isn’t it. They’ve made it that much easier for you to spend your money. Too easy, even.

Corrienne  was out of the house when she received an email from Amazon saying that her order had been confirmed. Confused, she asked her husband if he had made the order, then her son, but it was only after the two denied, that she realised it was Buddy.

Buddy, Corienne’s pet African Grey parrot, does what all parrots do: he mimics her. And given that Corienne spends her time at home shoulding out commands at Alexa, it’s no surprise that Buddy had picked up on the habit as well. She’d heard him say it before, but normally with a load of gibberish following.

Apparently his gibberish sounds an awful lot like “6 Best Decorative Gift Boxes Set with Lids by Giovanni Grazielli italian Design Premium Elegant and Stylish in Gold for Different Occasions” because that’s what he ordered.

A representative from Amazon later explained that placing an order via Alexa requires vocal confirmation and said that it’s also possible to deactivate voice purchases or to require a confirmation code for each purchase. On top of that, all purchases made by Alexa come with free returns.

Thankfully, Buddy’s purchase was only £10, so Corienne was able to laugh about it. You can bet this story wouldn’t be as funny if Buddy’s gibberish sounded more like “Bridges of New York Bangle Cuff Bracelet.” That would be a $245,000 FML that would be hard to forgive even the cutest parrot alive for.

By Polly / Tuesday 26 September 2017 16:00 / France
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