Last week NPR ran a segment about Amazon's new smart home device the Echo, which is ran by its operating system named Alexa. The radio broadcaster gave examples what Alexa could do, like turn your thermostat to 70 degrees.
Alexa was also listening to that show. Other listeners emailed in after the show aired to say their Alexa 'heard' its name through the radio and turned up the thermostat, turned off the lights, and even played an NPR News Summary. A few commenters on this follow-up story have also reported having problems when an Amazon Echo commercial plays on TV, responding to Alec Baldwin saying Alexa as he's at a party.
The problem is that Alexa is, after all, voice-controlled. Amazon appeared to have tried choosing a name that wasn't extremely common but still felt natural. Anyone with an Alexa in the family may want to consider changing their Amazon Echo's name.