Hashtag Trending – Alexa is laughing at you, Snap cuts over 100 jobs, Amazon commits billions more to food industry

A weird Alexa bug has Alexa-enabled devices creepily laughing without being prompted, the company behind Snapchat is cutting over 100 jobs, and Amazon commits many more billions of dollars to the food industry.

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From Reddit – In news that will make your skin crawl, especially if you’re listening to this episode from an Alexa device, Amazon has disabled the phrase, “Alexa, laugh” after users reported that Alexa-enabled devices were laughing randomly without being prompted to. According to Amazon, this truly creepy bug could have come from Alexa software mistaking common words and phrases that sound similar to the one that would make Alexa laugh. To fix it, Amazon changed that command to “Alexa, can you laugh?”. And instead of just laughing, Alexa will also say first, “Sure, I can laugh,” before actually laughing. While it’s good to hear that this fix has been made, personally, I don’t think we’re talking enough about why our smart assistants need to laugh to begin with.

From Linkedin – Snap Inc., the parent company and maker behind the app Snapchat, announced yesterday that it is making significant staff cuts by laying off about 120 members of its engineering team. Snap is saying that the layoffs come as a way to build appropriately aligned teams within the company. The layoffs in engineering come after Snap let go of 22 staffers from its content team and other divisions in January, as well as a number of jobs in its recruiting and hardware divisions last fall. Snap CEO Evan Spiegel has also told staff that the company would slow down its hiring in 2018. However, despite the layoffs, Snap just posted its best quarter yet as a public company.

And from Linkedin once more – It looks like the 13 billion dollars Amazon spent to buy Whole Foods last year is just a drop in the bucket. The tech giant’s annual report shows that Amazon had made an unprecedented financial commitment to the grocery business. After acquiring Whole Foods, Amazon took on an additional $22 billion in ‘contractually obligated future purchases’ tied to Whole Food’s prior contract with its largest supplier, United Natural Foods. This type of financial commitment is rare for Amazon, who has made its business on signing short-term agreements that constantly put pricing pressure on suppliers, rather than multi-year deals as seen here, which extends to 2025.

That’s what’s trending today. Hashtag Trending is produced by IT World Canada. Today’s episode is sponsored by Cogeco Peer 1, the company that enables businesses to unlock their IT potential. Learn more at CP1.com.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Alex Radu
Alex Radu
is a Video Producer for IT World Canada. When not writing or making videos about the tech industry, you can find him reading, watching TV/movies, or watching the Lakers rebuild with one eye open.

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