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Amazon's Alexa Told 10-Year-Old Child to Do a Life-Threatening 'Challenge'

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Last Updated: December 29, 2021, 16:58 IST

Amazon confirmed the issue and claimed to have fixed it.

Amazon confirmed the issue and claimed to have fixed it.

The incident caused an outrage on Twitter and many users raised concerns over such faulty tech ecosystems that are capable of causing harm to people.

Amazon Alexa told a 10-year-old girl to touch a live plug with a penny when the child asked the ‘artificially-intelligent’ voice assistant for challenges to do. The child’s mother Kristin Livdahl shared the incident on Twitter along with a screenshot of her Alexa activity, in which the voice assistant could be seen suggesting the potentially lethal challenge. Livdahl wrote on the social media platform on December 27 that her 10-year-old child asked Alexa for a challenge on their Echo device and got a shocking reply. In the screenshot, Alexa’s response to ‘Tell me a challenge to do’ reads, “The challenge is simple: plug in a phone charger about halfway into a wall outlet, then touch a penny to the exposed prongs."

According to a BBC report, Amazon confirmed the issue and claimed to have fixed it when it became aware of it. As per Livadahl’s tweets, she and her daughter were doing some physical challenges from a physical education teacher on YouTube when the voice assistant on their Echo device suggested the dangerous activity. Putting a penny in a live socket, known as ‘the penny challenge,’ can cause electric shocks, fire and damage. The challenge was circulating on TikTok and other social media platforms in recent years, against which many experts have warned. According to a senior firefighter from Yorkshire, UK, the ‘challenge’ could result in a person losing their fingers, hands and arms, as per a report by The York Press.

The incident caused an outrage on Twitter and many users raised concerns over such faulty tech ecosystems that are capable of causing harm to people. “There is literally no reason to have an ‘Alexa’ in your house. This should tell you that if it wasn’t already obvious," wrote a Twitter user.

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In another tweet on the following day, Livadahl informed that the challenge feature was not working for her a day after the incident. “It was a good moment to go through internet safety and not trusting things you read without research and verification again," she tweeted.

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first published:December 29, 2021, 16:58 IST
last updated:December 29, 2021, 16:58 IST