Alexa isn’t laughing at you; it’s a glitch

In the past few days, some users of Echo home speakers running Amazon.com’s Alexa voice-based digital assistant have reported hearing strange laughing noises at random. Some people have said the laughter happened in response to unrelated commands, while others reported it occurred unprompted.

It’s unclear what is causing the bug, but Alexa is indeed programmed to laugh if specifically asked to do so.

“We’re aware of this and working to fix it,” an Amazon representative said.

The Seattle-based company didn’t say when the fix would be deployed. Amazon can push updates to the voice service automatically.

Trade war worries ease; stocks flat

U.S. stocks erased deep losses to end the day mixed as White House officials left open the possibility that President Donald Trump’s tariff proposals will spare neighbors from the most severe penalties. The dollar and Treasuries erased gains.

The S&P 500 index was little changed after falling as much as 1 percent during a session marked by thin trading. Investors spooked by the departure of pro-trade adviser Gary Cohn took solace in comments from White House Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Kevin Hassett that indicated the trade policy is not yet finalized.

Trade angst still set the tone in U.S. equities, with multinationals in the Dow Jones Industrial Average leading declines, while domestically focused small caps paced gains.

“I think markets are taking a wait-and-see attitude. But I do believe markets will sell off a lot more if it becomes clear that we are going to start tariffs.” Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer of the Independent Advisor Alliance, said. “And if other countries are going to retaliate and people start to wonder how far this is going to go, I think that then there will be more of an impact on the market.”

— Bulletin wire reports

19752357