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World NewsAmazon's Alexa told a child to do a potentially lethal challenge

Amazon’s Alexa told a child to do a potentially lethal challenge

Alexa, Amazon’s digital assistant, just isn’t designed to endanger human lives however that is precisely what it did over the weekend when it told a 10-year-old woman to contact a dwell electrical plug with a penny.

The suggestion was given out through an Echo good speaker after the woman requested Alexa for a “challenge to do.”

“Plug in a phone charger about halfway into a wall outlet, then touch a penny to the exposed prongs,” Alexa stated.

An Amazon spokesperson told CNBC on Wednesday that the error had been fastened.

Kristin Livdahl, the woman’s mom who reportedly lives within the U.S., described the incident in a tweet Sunday, which included a screenshot of the event as it appeared in the Alexa smartphone app.

“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,” Livdahl wrote in one other tweet. “Bad weather outside. She just wanted another one.”

It was then that Alexa recommended the woman try the challenge that it had “found on the web.” Alexa pulled the challenge from a web based information publication known as Our Community Now. The information web site didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark from CNBC and it was not clear the way it initially reported on the foolhardy challenge.

“I was right there when it happened and we had another good conversation about not trusting anything from the internet or Alexa,” the mom stated.

The potentially lethal challenge, which Alexa seemingly failed to vet, began showing on social media platforms together with TikTok round a 12 months in the past. It’s harmful as a result of metals conduct electrical energy and inserting metallic cash into a plug socket may end up in violent electrical shocks and fires, with some reports of people losing fingers and hands from taking the challenge.

“Alexa is designed to provide accurate, relevant, and helpful information to customers,” the Amazon spokesperson told CNBC. “As soon as we became aware of this error, we took swift action to fix it.”

Amazon didn’t instantly elaborate on what the “swift action” was.  

Artificial intelligence skilled Gary Marcus stated Wednesday on Twitter that the occasion reveals how AI methods nonetheless lack frequent sense.

“No current AI is remotely close to understanding the everyday physical or psychological world,” Marcus later told CNBC in an interview. “What we have now is an approximation to intelligence, not the real thing, and as such it will never really be trustworthy. We are going to need some fundamental advances — not just more data — before we can get to AI we can trust.”


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