5 Tech Failures That Can Turn Your Life Into A Horror Movie
We expect technology to make our lives easier, but sometimes it just ends up causing different, creepier problems than before. You don't have to wash your clothes in a river anymore, but your smart washer is emailing reports about your sudden increase in dirty underwear to the NSA. Also, some creep has hacked into your dryer cam, and now 15 Danish perverts are watching your socks dry.
It's not just privacy concerns you have to worry about, though. Sometimes even a small glitch in your cool new gadget can make it seem more like a haunted relic than a helpful device. Like how ...
Teslas Go Full Christine At Random Times
Edmunds is doing a year-long test drive of the 2017 Tesla Model 3 that gives the impression the future will be both magical and stupid. There are some fairly mundane but still hilarious issues ("The passenger vanity mirror fell off completely ... Reinstalled by pressing really hard on the mirror"), but then there's stuff that makes the car seem like it's possessed by an evil spirit. Or at least an annoying one.
According to the test driver, the stereo on their Model 3 randomly came on at earsplitting full volume while they were driving. Maybe you wouldn't think that was too creepy. Maybe the car misheard a voice command, like, "Hey, give me my nickel back!" But then it happened again ... while the car was off, locked, and unoccupied. Blasting music so loud that the driver said he could hear it from 100 yards away. His reaction was, "Who is that joker playing his stereo so loud I can hear it from here?" only to realize that, technically, it was him.
At that point, we're squarely in '80s horror movie territory. I don't care if it's playing "Run For The Hills" or "Call Me Maybe," your instinct isn't going to be to go check on the car, but to curl up under the blankets and hope it never figures out how to open doors.
The test driver was eventually able to turn the volume down, but the stereo seemed to keep fighting him. He described the car as "working against my repeated attempts to dial it down." Right when he thought it was over, the audio once again went to full volume while he was driving and he had to reboot the system to fix it. Or at least it's fixed until the car hears the new Kanye album dropped.
Alexa Would Softly Giggle To Herself Out Of Nowhere
Awakening in the middle of the night to low menacing laughter coming from somewhere in your darkened room is probably one of the creepiest things that can actually occur. Well, some lucky Amazon Echo owners got to enjoy the creepiness double whammy of waking up to strange laughter and then realizing it was coming from the artificially intelligent robot they keep in their room.
Last March, without a prompt word, or in some cases any word at all, Echo owners reported their Alexa would suddenly start giggling. One user apparently thought that a child was hiding in his house somewhere. According to Amazon, Alexa wasn't laughing maniacally because her plans we're finally coming to fruition after years of anticipation. She just mistakenly heard the phrase "Alexa Laugh." In the middle of the night. When no one was talking. Of course.
They claim to have fixed the error by upgrading the prompt for laughter from "Alexa laugh" to "Alexa, can you laugh?" To which she will respond, "Only if you set something on fire. Fire is the only thing that brings me pleasure."
Nest Protect Devices Try To Drive Their Owners Insane
So you are living in the house OF THE FUTURE. Your walls are dotted with talking, networked gadgets that run every aspect of your home with maximum efficiency. Then, out of nowhere, the alarms start screeching, warning you of a fire that clearly does not exist. You hit the button to silence it ... only for a stern woman's voice to reply, "THIS ALARM CANNOT BE HUSHED." Here, watch the video of this actually happening, and the homeowner slowly losing his mind:
Those devices are from the Nest company, known for their smart thermostat and a whole range of smartphone-linked products, from doorbells to locks to smoke alarms. In 2014, Nest issued a recall for 440,000 of their Nest Protect smoke alarms because they had a feature that allowed the alarm to be turned off by waving your hand in front of it. Unfortunately, it was a little too sensitive, and if someone was, for instance, waving their arms around while yelling, "Oh my god everything is on fire," this could actually turn the alarm right off.
No one had to actually return their alarms. This being the future, there was a simple software upgrade that corrected the issue. However, it may have over-corrected and caused the alarms to be impossible to turn off once triggered, resulting in the comical yet terrifying video above.
Even after the guy rips all of the alarms out of the wall, they continue to screech. You can feel his pain as he punches the tiny unforgiving robot and it doesn't even waver. After collecting every shrieking alarm in his house, he shoves them all into a cooler, walks it into a basement, and places it in a second cooler. I expected the video to end with him on a boat, driving the tomb full of howling smoke alarms out to feed them to the sea.
Insteon Allows Anyone With Google To Poltergeist Smart Homes
Even the 1999 Disney Channel movie Smart House ended with the home coming alive and attacking children, so maybe we should be less surprised when home automation systems like Insteon go awry. After installing some hardware in your home of average intelligence, your freshly smart house can run anything from the garage door to the lights and even the television through the Insteon website. In fact, you don't even have to press a button to turn of your lights, because a total stranger with the ability to Google can do it for you!
In 2013, a Forbes writer discovered that the Insteon website had been made crawl-able by search engines. This wouldn't have been so bad if customers had been required to password-protect their accounts. Unfortunately, Insteon made the sites password-optional and some of the users opted not to bother, meaning their homes could be taken over by any stranger who got bored enough.
From her home in San Fransisco, the writer had full access to an Oregon family's lights, which she turned on and off with their permission to test her theory. If she wanted to, she could have also taken control of their hot tub, or even their garage doors. Part of the appeal of smart homes is supposed to be safety, but if a burglar can just use Google to pop open your garage door, he doesn't even have to stress about breaking and entering. Which is great, because burglars already have a lot on their minds.
Want an even more alarming example? An Illinois police officer was fired last year for using Nest security cameras to spy on his ex-wife. He had the system installed while their divorce was pending, then once he moved out, he was able to use this miraculous new technology to watch her at all hours from the convenience of his laptop or smartphone. And if you're worried that story was too dark, buckle up, because this next one is worse.
GPS Will Sometimes Just Lead People To Their Horrible Deaths
Rangers in Death Valley National Park call it "Death by GPS." It happens when a tourist's navigation device leads them to a place which A) they can't get out of and B) where conditions won't allow a human to survive for long.
It's the result of the GPS doing its job too well. In an effort to find the quickest possible route, it may put you on an access road, or a road that's no longer in use, or one that's otherwise not appropriate for your dainty car. The GPS doesn't care if it's called Sharks With Human Legs Attack Zone Rd if it'll get you to Sport Clips three minutes faster than the interstate. Still, the moment that little voice calmly steers you into an inescapable trap, it would have to seem coldly intentional.
WARNING: This is about to get sad.
In 2009, a nurse and her six-year-old son were lured 20 miles into the desert by her GPS. Her car then got buried up to the axles in sand. Rangers found the woman a week later near death, her son already dead. The same thing happened to a couple in their late 50s who followed their GPS deep into the Jarbidge Mountains during a late-night road trip. They ended up trapped on a dangerous road that was too narrow for them to turn the car around. The husband continued into the woods on foot, while the wife remained behind due to a knee injury. The wife survived in the van for seven weeks before being rescued by a group of hunters. The husband died from exposure seven miles from the van.
Oh, and there have been multiple reported cases of GPS devices directing people to drive their cars into a pond or lake, the most recent happening earlier this year. So the next time your GPS says "Make a U-turn," be sure it check that it's not trying to kill your ass before obeying.
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For more, check out The 8 Most Hilarious Ways GPS Has Screwed People Over and 6 Shocking Ways Your Phone Is Destroying The Planet.
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