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Outrage as Amazon's Alexa Voice Assistant Recommends a 10-Year-Old to Touch Live Plug With Coin

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Amazon Alexa  - Sputnik International, 1920, 29.12.2021
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A worryingly popular viral "penny challenge" (which is definitely not recommended for anyone to try) involves touching a coin to the exposed prongs of a half-inserted plug. Trying to do that can result in fires, electric shocks, and severe injuries.
Amazon's Alexa appeared to offer a dangerous challenge with a coin and a half-inserted plug to a 10-year-old girl - immediately shocking thousands of social media users and prompting a swift update of the voice assistant from the tech company.
The incident was described by the girl's mother, Kristin Livdahl, on Twitter.
"OMFG My 10 year old just asked Alexa on our Echo for a challenge and this is what she said", Livdahl tweeted, attaching a screenshot with a response from Alexa, where the assistant offers to "plug in a phone charger about halfway into a wall outlet, then touch a penny to the exposed prongs".
Luckily, Livdahl was around her daughter at the time. According to the mother, she "yelled 'No, Alexa, no!' like it was a dog".
"My daughter says she is too smart to do something like that anyway", Livdahl noted.
The story prompted strong reactions from netizens who appeared to be outraged at Livdahl for "outsourcing parenting to an AI". Other users shared the unpleasant experience of trying to take part in the dangerous "penny challenge".
Amazon also received a great amount of criticism for allowing its voice assistant to "select content from the mess of the internet" when speaking to a random person.
Some people even engaged in debates over the role of technology in modern life.
Amazon later reached out to Livdahl, offering help and apparently updating the voice assistant, removing the troubling recommendation. Other users who also tried to ask Alexa for a "challenge to do" after Livdahl's story emerged have not received a suggestion to do the "penny challenge" in response.
The tech company additionally addressed the incident in a statement for the BBC, saying that it "took swift action to fix" the error "as soon as we became aware" of it.
"Customer trust is at the centre of everything we do and Alexa is designed to provide accurate, relevant, and helpful information to customers", Amazon asserted.
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