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Amazon's Alexa asks 10-year-old to touch live plug with penny

The mother posted the screenshot of the response received on her twitter profile.

December 29, 2021 / 10:34 AM IST

Amazon's Alexa was updated after its voice assistant had suggested a 10-year-old girl to touch a penny to the prongs of a half-inserted electric plug.

The girl's mother, Kristin Livdahl, said it happened when the little girl had asked the Echo smart speaker for physical challenges to do because the weather was bad outside.

"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," she told the BBC.

That was when the Echo speaker suggested the challenge. The mother posted the screenshot of the response received on her twitter profile.

"According to The challenge is simple: Plug in a phone charger about halfway into a wall outlet, then touch a penny to the exposed prongs," the smart speaker said.

Livdahl further said that her daughter was too smart to do something like that.

Soon after the incident, Amazon told the BBC in a statement that it had updated Alexa to prevent the assistant recommending such activities in the future.

It further added that customer trust was at the centre of everything it did. Alexa is designed to provide accurate, relevant, and helpful information to customers, it added.

"As soon as we became aware of this error, we took swift action to fix it," it said.

"The penny challenge" is a popular one which began circulating on TikTok and other social media websites about a year ago. The fire officials in the US have warned people and spoken out against the so-called challenge. They said that it can cause people to lose their fingers, hands and arms.
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first published: Dec 29, 2021 10:34 am
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