Amazon Alexa Tells A 10-Year-Old Girl To Put A Penny In An Electrical Socket
An Amazon Alexa told a 10-year-old girl this weekend to put a penny in an electrical socket. This act is highly dangerous and could result in both fires and electrocution. The Alexa told her to perform the task in under 20 seconds after the girl asked her home’s smart device to give her a challenge.
Kristin Livdahl, the girl’s mother, posted about Tweeted about the event Sunday. “OMFG My 10-year-old just asked Alexa on our Echo for a challenge and this is what she said,” wrote Livdahl.
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
She attached a screenshot in which Alexa instructed the child, “plug in a phone charger about halfway into a wall outlet, then touch a penny to the exposed prongs.”
“My brother did this exact same thing and got a bad shock and black hand. That was what was running through my mind as I heard the interchange,” she wrote in a tweet. She added that she was able to intervene so that her child did not ultimately perform the dangerous task. She said, “I was right there to say no but I hope my daughter would have checked in with me anyway before trying it. Now, I know she will.”
The Alexa made its recommendation to the girl after finding the task description online. It used its algorithm to scan the internet for relevant articles, and made its choice because the article in question discussed a “challenge.” However, the context of its appearance in the article was to describe what one should not do. The article said, “The challenge is simple: plug in a phone charger about halfway into a wall outlet, then touch a penny to the exposed prongs. The resulting sparks are supposed to be cool enough to win you instant internet fame. (Obviously, do NOT attempt this!).”
Amazon said it immediately corrected its algorithm issue the moment it learned of the problem. On Tuesday, a spokesperson said, “Customer trust is at the center of everything we do and Alexa is designed to provide accurate, relevant, and helpful information to customers. As soon as we became aware of this error, we quickly fixed it, and are taking steps to help prevent something similar from happening again.”
Livdahl’s social media posts about the event have garnered thousands of likes, retweets and comments. She said she used this mishap as an opportunity to remind her daughter about the dangers of trusting everything that one finds online.
“We had another conversation about not trusting things from the internet,” she explained, “or Alexa.”
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