Amazon’s Alexa seems to be the precursor to all of those AI assistants that we keep on seeing in Sci-Fi movies. Think of Iron Man’s assistant Jarvis or the computers on Star Trek. Unfortunately, the current tech is far from perfect as evidenced by how recently Alexa almost got a little girl to electrocute herself. Oh Amazon!
Yes, you heard right! Alexa almost killed, or at least could have seriously harmed, a kid by telling her to do something really stupid.
Well, apparently Amazon’s Alexa digital assistant suggested that a 10 year old girl plug something into an electrical socket, but only half way. It then told her to touch a penny to the exposed part of the electrical prong. Ouch!
But, why in the hell did this even happen in the first place?
Well, according to the girl’s family she asked Alexa to give her a challenge. Challenges seem to be one of the new fads these days. Only they are usually done on social media by celebrities to raise money and awareness for social causes. Challenges are not supposed to be a way for someone to win a Darwin Award for their stupidity.
Alexa for some reason came up with the “Penny Challenge,” which can create sparks when done. But it can also get someone seriously hurt. Even if Alexa did not understand that this was just a kid, it still did something inexcusable here.
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
The girl’s mother, Kristin Livdahl, explained what happened on Twitter: “We were doing some physical challenges, like laying down and rolling over holding a shoe on your foot, from a [physical education] teacher on YouTube earlier. Bad weather outside. She just wanted another one.”
She said: “We were doing some physical challenges, like laying down and rolling over holding a shoe on your foot, from a [physical education] teacher on YouTube earlier. Bad weather outside. She just wanted another one.”
Amazon responded to the news of what happened with a statement in which the company said that it hadthat it “quickly fixed” the error that allowed Alexa to do such a stupid thing and that the company is “taking steps to help prevent something similar from happening again.”