- BBC News World
Amazon had to update its voice assistant Alexa after the device challenged a 10-year-old girl in the United States to touch the pins of a plug half inserted to the electrical current with a coin.
The suggestion came after the girl asked Alexa to give her “a challenge to perform.”
“Plug a phone charger halfway into a wall outlet, then touch exposed pins with a penny“said the smart speaker.
Amazon said it fixed the bug as soon as the company realized it.
The girl’s mother, Kristin Livdahl, described the incident on Twitter.
“Before we were doing some physical challenges, like lying down and rolling with one shoe on the foot, from a physical education teacher on YouTube. There was bad weather outside. She just wanted another (challenge),” he said.
That’s when the Echo speaker suggested that the girl take part in the challenge she had “found on the web.”
The dangerous activity, known as “the penny challenge,” began circulating on TikTok and other social media about a year ago..
Many metals conduct electricity, and inserting them into live sockets can cause electric shock, fire, and other damage.
The girl’s mother said on Twitter that she intervened and yelled, “No, Alexa, no!” And he said that his daughter said that he is “too smart to do something like that.”
Amazon told the BBC in a statement that it had updated Alexa to prevent the assistant from recommending such activity in the future.
“Customer trust is at the core of everything we do and Alexa is designed to provide accurate, relevant and useful information to customers,” Amazon said in a statement.
“As soon as we became aware of this error, we took swift action to fix it,” the company added.
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