Amazon’s Alexa saves mother and child by calling police

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In New Mexico, Amazon’s innovative voice-controlled device named Alexa came to the rescue of a woman and her child during a violent domestic dispute.

In a statement to USA Today, Bernalillo County Sheriff Manuel Gonzales III and New Mexico authorities reported that the woman who made the phone call utilized the smart-home device to dial and ring 911.

However, the aggressor, Eduardo Barros, reportedly asked her if she alerted the police about their fight. Police believe the device actually interpreted Barros asking, “Did you call the sheriff?” as a command. Thus, that’s when the actual call was made.

“This question, based on the victim’s statements, prompted a smart-home device known as Alexa to contact law enforcement,” Gonzales said. “In the 911 call, the victim can be heard yelling ‘Alexa, call 911.'”

The victim’s complaint stated Barros hit the woman in the face with a gun and began pummeling her to the ground after he saw the caller ID on her phone. He also “kicked her while on the ground at least 10 times in the face and stomach,” according to local media.

SWAT and a Crisis Negotiation Team were called to the scene, where they engaged in a six-hour standoff with Barros while he was barricaded in the home he shared with the woman and her daughter. Eventually, Barros was detained and arrested.

The strangest anomaly with this event though, according to Amazon spokeswoman Rachel Hass in an interview with New York Daily News, is that Alexa-enabled devices are not designed or programmed to alert authorities.

“I can confirm that Alexa does not support 911 calling,” said Hass.

This is not the first case where an Amazon Echo device has contacted police. In 2016, Arkansas police filed a request to pull data from such a device for use in a murder investigation.

 

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