AI on the Creepiness Scale: Real Life Stories

October 24, 2018

AI has always tended to have a ‘Terminator’ reputation. And while robots aren’t about to take over the world, it sometimes feels like big brother is watching over us in the shape of a round plastic object named Alexa or Google.

So, over the past month, we’ve asked you to weigh in: what’s the creepiest encounter you’ve ever had with AI? Below are some of the spookiest submissions we received:

NO ONE ASKED YOU, VIRTUAL ASSISTANT!

You know those co-worker that always inserts themselves into any conversation? When they do it it’s just annoying, but when AI does it, well, it’s a bit unsettling.

“My Alexa just started playing ‘Genie in a Bottle’ by Christina Aguilera out of the blue today. No one asked her to. 😳” – Mike F.

“My Google Home keeps answering questions when I don’t say ‘OK Google.’ For example, last week I asked my roommate which barre studio she goes to, and, from the other room and without being prompted, it started listing off ‘bars near me.’ – Rachel K.

“What do I find most creepy? When my phone started guessing where I was going every time I got in the car.” – Jane P.

AI’S GOT ITS EYES ON YOU

Having all eyes on you while you’re making a killer, career changing presentation feels great. But feeling like you’re every move is tracked and shared? Well, that’s just disturbing.

“Every time I see an ad for a product that I never mentioned but only imagined.” – Samuel G.

“My creepiest AI experience is being logged into Netflix and not realizing I hadn’t switched who the user is… let’s just say my 25 year-old son and I have different taste! #IWouldNeverWatchThat” – Kymberlaine B.

“One day my locker at the gym got broken into. I went to buy a new lock at the front desk, told them what happened, bought the new lock. I went on Facebook 5 minutes later and I received an ad for a fingerprint scanning gym lock. I didn’t send one text about it, no calls, nothing. I have no idea how it happened short of my phone listening to me. Unless it’s just a coincidence. Either way, creepy.” – Dan F.

“I’m a dentist, and while discussing toothpaste with a patient, an email about that brand of toothpaste shows up in my coworker’s email.” – Jennifer T.

“I was shopping online on my laptop, in an incognito window too, and put a pair of shoes in my shopping cart. I decided not to get them at that time and exited the screen. Later I was on my phone and saw I had a notification on Facebook Messenger from the store I was shopping at earlier with a message saying “Don’t miss out! Your Cart expires soon” with a 20% coupon and a link to the pair of shoes I was looking at earlier. It was creepy how they messaged me on Facebook when I had never linked that to their site.” – Margaret O.

TOO SMART FOR COMFORT

For many it’s all about control and transparency. Handing over your keys to a friend can be the smart thing to do, but putting AI in the driver’s seat just doesn’t sit right.
“For me it is self-driving cars! When uber first tried it they were missing red lights left and right! Scary!!” – Jessica G.

“When talking to an online chatbot, I asked if it was a bot or a real person. The bot responded ‘half human half bot :)’ I then asked if it was a cyborg, to which it responded ‘kind of.’” – Priyanka T.

*Some submissions have been edited for clarity and length.

While these stories give us the heebie-jeebies, in actuality, AI is only as scary as the use cases we humans dream up. When AI invades our privacy or utilizes data to find personal information, it creates an unsettling experience. So, how can you make sure your AI isn’t sending shivers down your customers’ spines? Stay tuned for our eBook next week to learn more.

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Artificial Intelligence and the Customer Experience

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