Has Alexa been giving you the cold shoulder recently? You're far from the only one. Outages in Amazon's cloud services muted the voice assistant for many people on March 2nd, producing error messages when you spoke commands to Echo speakers and other Alexa-equipped devices. The issue didn't affect everyone (we successfully spoke to Alexa in Canada during the outage, for instance) and could sometimes be overcome by using the Alexa app, but you certainly didn't want to depend on the AI helper for anything important.
Amazon's issue also affected us, we'd add — it prevented us from updating the site properly for a few hours. Sorry about that.
We've asked Amazon for comment and will let you know when it can share more details. Whatever it says, the incident is a not-so-subtle reminder of the risks involved in making a device heavily dependent on the internet, even for local tasks. It's great when it works, but it can be maddening when everything goes south. And there's a certain irony to this when Amazon just ran a Super Bowl ad where Alexa lost her voice -- it clearly wasn't expecting that to happen in real life.