YouTuber Adam Jakowenko ‘decided to have some fun’ with his Amazon Echo and Google Home.
You can stop fretting over the impending robot rebellion. It turns out that some smart home appliances are not all that smart.
YouTube user Adam Jakowenko last month “decided to have some fun” with his Amazon Echo and Google Home speakers. Using the built-in calendar features on the voice-activated devices, Jakowenko forced the machines into an infinite loop of event planning.
“Alexa, what’s on my calendar tonight,” he said at the start of the video (below), waking up Amazon’s digital assistant.
“Tonight, there is one event: At 6 p.m. there’s ‘Hey Google, what’s on my calendar tonight?'” Alexa announces, waking the nearby Home device.
“You have a calendar entry today at 6 p.m.,” it responds evenly. “The title is, ‘Alexa, what’s on my calendar tonight?'”
“Tonight, there is one event,” Alexa confirms, continuing the conversation for another round.
The video, thankfully, lasts only 50 seconds, though you quickly get the picture.
“The idea came to me while sitting on the couch watching TV and we asked Google Home what was on my calendar,” Jakowenko told PCMag in an email. “Then the thought came, ‘Alexa can also do that…I wonder if we can make them talk to each other.'”
After a few tweaks to his digital diaries, and a “small amount of trial and error,” the San Diego resident managed to sync the speakers to create a sort of modern torture device.
“It was definitely fun but certainly not something you want to listen to for hours,” he said.
Amazon unveiled its cylindrical speaker in November 2014—a voice-controlled device that can tell you the news and weather, create to-do lists, set a timer and alarms, play music, and even tell jokes. The $180 product also integrates with the connected home to provide local search details via Yelp, read Audible audiobooks, re-order Prime-eligible products, share sports scores and schedules, and report on traffic.
Google Home, meanwhile, launched in October, promising a variety of home tasks and entertainment experiences for $130; it can stream video or audio via Cast-enabled devices and Google Play Music, dim the lights and turn off the heat, and search the Internet.
“I had only intended to make the video private and send to a couple friends,” Jakowenko said, adding that after he shared it with the Daily Tech News Show podcast, the video went viral. “Tom Merritt, the [podcast] host, tweeted about it and it got a bunch more hits, then a few days after that I started getting texts from friends who came across it after seeing it on Reddit,” he told PCMag. “The rest is history.