WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Alexa, Amazon’s virtual assistant, recently told a girl to touch a live plug socket with a penny.
- The dangerous advice happened after the 10-year-old asked the Echo smart speaker for a challenge.
- The penny challenge first emerged on TikTok in 2020.
Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant is being updated after it told a 10-year-old girl to touch a coin to the prongs of a half-inserted plug.
The advice was given after the girl asked Alexa for a “challenge to do”.
“Plug in a phone charger about halfway into a wall outlet, then touch a penny to the exposed prongs,” Alexa said.
Amazon said it addressed the error as soon as the company learned about the incident.
The girl’s mother, Kristin Livdahl, described the incident on Twitter.
She said: “We were doing some physical challenges, like laying down and rolling over holding a shoe on your foot, from a [physical education] teacher on YouTube earlier. Bad weather outside. She just wanted another one.”
That’s when the smart speaker suggested the challenge that it had “found on the web”.
“The penny challenge” first emerged on TikTok about a year ago before it circulated on other social media platforms.
Metals, such as coins, are electrical conductors. Inserting them into live electrical sockets can cause electric shocks, fires and other damage.
“I know you can lose fingers, hands, arms,” Michael Clusker, station manager at Carlisle East fire station, told The Press newspaper in Yorkshire in 2020.
“The outcome from this is that someone will get seriously hurt,” he added.
Fire officials have also warned against the so-called challenge.
Ms Livdahl tweeted that she intervened, yelling: “No, Alexa, no!”
However, she said her daughter was “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 center of everything we do and Alexa is designed to provide accurate, relevant, and helpful information to customers,” said Amazon in a statement. “As soon as we became aware of this error, we took swift action to fix it.”
Source: Yahoo! News