Amazon’s Alexa dishes out potentially deadly challenge
Amazon says it has updated its voice assistant after it transpired that Alexa had suggested a 10-year-old girl touch a coin to the prongs of a partially inserted plug as a challenge.
The girl’s mother posted a tweet on Monday describing how her daughter had been doing some cold-weather indoor challenges set by a phys. ed. teacher on YouTube and was seeking another one. To the woman’s shock, Alexa suggested a “simple” task it had found on the web, whereby the participant “plug[s] in a phone charger about halfway into a wall outlet, then touch[es] a penny to the exposed prongs.”
The dangerous “penny challenge” started making the rounds on TikTok and other platforms about a year ago and can potentially lead to electric shock as well as cause a fire.
The woman, who was in the room when Alexa dished out the challenge, immediately yelled, “No, Alexa, no!”, she wrote. Thankfully, the girl had not yet attempted the dangerous stunt, telling her mother she was “too smart to do something like that anyway.”
Commenting on the incident to BBC, Amazon said it had taken “swift action” to prevent the assistant from recommending this kind of activity again.