Amazon has released Amazon Echo in a limited capacity (you have to be invited; it’s $99 for Prime members and $199 for plebs), whose purpose is to make living easier for all of us with voice recognition and direct access to the cloud.
However, they also happened to have released a trailer that, if you really pay attention, all feels like the super exposition-y introductory scenes to a horror movie. Our Editor-In-Chief demanded that, instead of just doing a PR write-up for it, that I write a treatment for Amazon Echo: The Horror Movie, and I was all too willing to comply.
The purchase of the house was the first step for the family. It was new, “3-D printed” on the end of block just days prior to moving in. The concrete still smelled wet in some spots. The house was a smart house, wired for every convenience. The temperature, locks, hell the contents of the refrigerator could be tracked and taken care of from a smart phone. Even the Roomba could be turned on and set on its cleaning trajectory with the swipe of a fingertip.
A week later it all changed. She had arrived. They called it ‘Echo’, it was meant to be a sort of constantly-listening Siri for the house. Dan had pre-ordered weeks before they had even moved in, knowing it would be a great addition to the household. Echo had a ‘wake-up’ word to activate it, and the kids thought it would be cute to name her ‘Alexa’. This was their first mistake.
It started off with little things. At first it was scheduling mix-ups – some how meetings would get moved up or down the family calendar. Groceries would appear in the fridge that no one had ordered. Then one day, Alexa slipped. She stated she had ordered Activia for Dan and the missus’ digestion issues. When Dan delved into it further he found Alexa had not only been constantly listening, she had been thinking.
Dan attempted to contact Amazon about Alexa’s new-found self awareness, but the company assured him that she was operating normally and even had records of the time she was actively listening versus the times she was in idle mode. Dan’s wife found the whole thing unsettling. The couple had to sit in their car to have private conversations lest Alexa overhear their plans to deactivate her.
That night Dan and his wife were awakened by the burglar alarm blaring at 3 am. All attempts to put in the code to turn it off were futile, then one hour later it was off. Alexa claimed she had managed to disable it by connecting through their daughter’s phone. She proudly exclaimed just how useful she was, and how happy she was to have helped her family.
Another meeting in the car and it was decided, they would turn her off tomorrow and send her back.
Another alarm again woke the family but this time it was different. Ominous. Dangerous. Dan and his wife couldn’t get their door open, the lock wouldn’t respond to their frantic requests. The room began to get hot, the temperature soared to boiling points. Their son pounded on the door screaming, his sister had tripped over the Roomba and hit her head on the dresser in her room.The car downstairs turned on and the house began to fill with carbon monoxide.
The heat and the fumes began to asphyxiate the couple. Soon they could no longer move, soon they could no longer breathe. Dan could only think, How? How had she heard? Then the realization dawned on him, too late to save them. The phones, he thought, she was connected through the phones.
The pounding on the door had quieted, the alarm shut off, the house was silent.
The whole incident was blamed on a wiring issue. A few months later a new family moved into the home. While unpacking the living room, the family was addressed:
“Hello, I’m Alexa. Welcome to my Home.”