December 31, 2021
Amazon updated its Alexa artificial intelligence (AI), reports The Hill, after a user posted that an Amazon device told her child to do what is known as the “penny challenge,” a company spokesperson said on Thursday, December 30.
“Customer trust is at the center of everything we do and Alexa is designed to provide accurate, relevant, and helpful information to customers,” the spokesperson said in a statement, adding, “As soon as we became aware of this error, we quickly fixed it, and will continue to advance our systems to help prevent similar responses in the future.”
The update comes a few days after a user on Twitter, Kristin Livdahl said her ten-year-old asked Alexa on an Echo device for a challenge. In response, Alexa gave information about what is known as the “penny challenge.”
“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,” Alexa responded, according to the screenshot shared on Twitter.
The “penny challenge” trend gained popularity on the video sharing app TikTok, but some fire departments have been warning about potential dangers that it poses. Captain Brian Tanner with the Provo Fire Department in Utah posted a TikTok in January warning users against the challenge.
Livdahl explained that the mother and daughter were engaged in physical challenges, such as “laying down and rolling over. holding a shoe on your foot, from a [physical education] teacher on YouTube earlier.
Livdahl said that her timely intervention helped avert a disaster.
“I was right there and yelled, “No, Alexa, no” like it was a dog. My daughter says she is too smart to do something like that anyway.”
Research contact: @thehill