Plug in a phone charger about halfway into a wall outlet, then touch a penny to the exposed prongs,' Alexa told the girl
The girl's mother Kristin Livdahl wrote that her 10-year-old asked Alexa to suggest her a challenge to do but Alexa, in turn, asked her to stick her hand in a power socket.
Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant helps you get things done around the house, like playing music, reminding you to do something, browsing the internet but it turns out that the voice assistant also has a dark side.
In a shocking incident, Alexa voice assistant “challenged” a 10-year-old girl to touch a penny to the prongs of a plug partially inserted into an electrical outlet, the BBC reported Tuesday.
For the uninitiated, Metals are electric conductors, and placing them into live sockets can cause electric shocks, fires, and other damage.
The girl’s mother Kristin Livdahl narrated her ordeal on Twitter. She wrote that when her 10-year-old kid asked Alexa to suggest her a challenge, Alexa, responded: “Here’s something I found on the web. According to ourcommunitynow.com: The challenge is simple: plug in a phone charger about halfway into a wall outlet, then touch a penny to the exposed prongs.”
Livdahl yelled “No Alexa, No” to stop the voice assistant from giving such lethal challenges, however, her daughter said she was too smart to do something like that.
“It was a good moment to go through internet safety and not trusting things you read without research and verification again. We thought the cesspool of YouTube was what we needed to worry about at this age—with limited internet and social media access—but not the only thing,” Livdahl tweeted.
The “penny challenge” gained traction on TikTok last year, where people filmed themselves sliding a penny behind a partially plugged-in phone charger. It can cause electrical shocks, fires, and other damage.
Amazon contacted Livdahl to assure her they had corrected the error as soon as the company became aware of it.
In a statement to the BBC, Amazon said 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,” the company said to BBC.
“I was right there when it happened,” the mother said. “And we had another good conversation about not trusting anything from the internet or Alexa.”
However, she said her daughter was "too smart to do something like that".
"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.
"As soon as we became aware of this error, we took swift action to fix it."