Amazon has fixed an error in its Alexa voice assistant software after it allegedly told a 10-year-old girl to touch a live electrical socket with a penny Sunday.
Alexa provides users with answers to questions pulled from web results when asked by users. Users can also request challenges from Alexa which are also found through web results, BBC reported. (RELATED: DAVIS: Amazon Web Services’ Cloud Trap Entrenches Its Dominance)
When the 10-year-old asked Alexa for a challenge, the voice assistant responded, “The challenge is simple: plug in a phone charger about halfway into a wall outlet, then touch a penny to the exposed prongs.”
“No, Alexa, no!,” said Kristin Livdahl, the mother of the 10-year-old.
Livdahl reported the incident in a Twitter post on Sunday.
OMFG My 10 year old just asked Alexa on our Echo for a challenge and this is what she said. pic.twitter.com/HgGgrLbdS8
— Kristin Livdahl (@klivdahl) December 26, 2021
“We have been doing some physical challenges from a Phy Ed teacher on YouTube as the weather gets colder and she just wanted another one. I was right there. The Echo was a gift and is mostly used as a timer and to play songs and podcasts.” Livdahl said.
“Customer trust is at the centre of everything we do and Alexa is designed to provide accurate, relevant, and helpful information to customers,” Amazon said in a statement to BBC.
“As soon as we became aware of this error, we took swift action to fix it,” Amazon continued.
The penny challenge became viral among TikTok users in Jan. 2020 and was warned against by Massachusetts Fire Marshall Peter J. Ostroskey in a letter to fire departments as an “unsafe use of electricity and fire.”