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Amazon's Alexa tasked a 10-year-old with a lethal challenge


The child's mother was furious with the digital assistant nudging her child to stick a metal item into the power socket.

According to Kristin Livdahl, a mother of a 10-year-old child and a writer, her daughter asked Alexa, a digital Amazon Echo assistant, for a challenge to do.

Somewhat ominously, artificial intelligence offered a potentially lethal task for the child.

"The challenge is simple: plug in a phone charger about halfway into a wall outlet, then touch a penny to the exposed prongs," Alexa said and set the timer for 20 minutes to complete the challenge.

The mother explained that she and her daughter were doing physical challenges to warm up, and her 10-year-old asked for more, prompting the lethal suggestion from Amazon's AI.

"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 explained in a Tweet.

The activity Alexa suggested is "the penny challenge," a TikTok trend circulating the social network over a year ago. Inserting metal objects in a power socket may lead to a house fire, severe burns, and even death.

Amazon did not reveal what caused its system to recommend such a challenge, but it explained fixing the issue in a statement to the BBC.

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


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