A woman on the social networking site said that she was shocked by the potentially deadly response her daughter got when she asked for a challenge.
On Sunday, the person who goes by @klivdahl on the platform shared a picture of a message that was allegedly replied to.
“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,” it said.
The message is likely an automated one that is pulled from the web, rather than a conscious decision by anyone at Amazon.
OMFG My 10 year old just asked Alexa on our Echo for a challenge and this is what she said. pic.twitter.com/HgGgrLbdS8
— Kristin Livdahl (@klivdahl) December 26, 2021
Some in the comments joked that they thought Alexa was up to no good, and potentially ‘evil’.
“I suspected Alexa was evil. Just didn’t suspect Alexa was this evil,” someone wrote.
“Houston, we’ve got a very serious problem!” another added.
A third wrote: “The machine uprising has begun.”
Give Amazon the benefit of the doubt, but we have reached out to them. Some people pointed out that it is potentially problematic to allow results to be pulled by Alexa.
“Companies should really know better than to put unfiltered question answering systems live on the internet. Google does this in their summaries too, and they similarly have shocking/dangerous results like this periodically,” they wrote.
On Monday, Amazon Help appeared to spot Livdahl’s post and took to the comments of her Twitter post:
Hi there. We're sorry to hear this! Please reach out to us directly via the following link so that we can look into this further with you: https://t.co/YlLYrTtGzy. We hope this helps. -Daragh
— Amazon Help (@AmazonHelp) December 27, 2021
Speaking to Indy100, an Amazon spokesperson noted the following: “Customer trust is at the center 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.”
The original post from ourcommunitynews.com appeared in January 2020.
Sparks and a fire hazard are created when the penny touches the exposed prongs when the phone is plugged in halfway into the outlet.
— NH State Fire Marshal's Office (NHFMO) (@nhfmo) January 22, 2020
In a report from the Boston Globe, the Plymouth Fire Department said that a teacher saw two students perform the challenge.
“These actions are extremely dangerous and could potentially start a fire and cause thousands of dollars in property damage. It could also cause serious injury to anyone who is nearby,” said Plymouth Fire Chief Edward Bradley in a statement.