Dangerous! Amazon Alexa bug almost electrocuted child!

In a literally shocking development, Amazon Alexa told a child to put a penny on a live electrical connection.

| Updated on: Aug 21 2022, 23:02 IST
Due to this Amazon Alexa bug, a child almost got electrocuted.
Due to this Amazon Alexa bug, a child almost got electrocuted. (AP)
Due to this Amazon Alexa bug, a child almost got electrocuted.
Due to this Amazon Alexa bug, a child almost got electrocuted. (AP)

Amazingly, it has been revealed that an Amazon Alexa bug has led the device to respond in a shocking manner to an innocent child's question. Well, over the years, Virtual voice AI assistant Amazon Alexa has become a friend of millions of users worldwide. From helping to set alarms, having a fun conversation to boosting people's knowledge, Alexa does everything. But what if Alexa becomes a foe instead of friend? In a recent case, a user on Twitter named Kristin Livdahl took to social media to share a hair-raising development. She said that her 10-year old child asked Alexa enabled Echo for a challenge. In reply, Alexa said, "The challenge is simple." Alexa asked the child to plug in a phone charger about halfway into a wall outlet, and then touch a penny to the exposed prongs! To put it simply, touching a metal to a live electrical connection will result in an electric shock that can even cause death.

The Alexa enabled Echo had actually responded to "tell me a challenge to do" with "Here's something I found on the web," according to Kristin Livdahl's screenshot shared on Twitter. Around a year ago, this unsafe challenge had become a sort of a rage among adults and was known as "the penny challenge". It started circulating on TikTok and other social media websites, but how it found its way to Alexa recommending such a thing is still not known.

What action has been taken?

In a statement, Amazon confirmed that an Amazon Alexa bug had led to this and claimed that the error ha been fixed now and that the voice assistant will not recommend any such activity in the future. "Customer trust is at the centre 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 took swift action to fix it," BBC quoted Amazon's statement in the response.

At the same time, Kristin Livdahl, the user who raised the issue also mentioned in her tweet yesterday that the function is not working now in a reply to another user who asked how it works as 'Tell me a challenge to do' activity is not working. "It isn't working for us now, either. Maybe they fixed it," Kristin Livdahl wrote in the tweet.

Practically, the main issue lies in unverified content sharing on the web. Alexa may sometimes pick the information directly from the web in the top searches.

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First Published Date: 29 Dec, 17:48 IST