Amazon announced an Alexa update after the software “challenged” a 10-year-old girl to touch a penny to a live electrical outlet.
“OMFG My 10 year old just asked Alexa on our Echo for a challenge and this is what she said,” Kristin Livdahl wrote on Twitter, alongside a screenshot of Alexa’s shocking recommendation.
“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 said. “Bad weather outside. She just wanted another one.”
The penny challenge originated on TikTok in January 2020 after several viral videos encouraged viewers to stick a penny in an outlet to create sparks.
“This video is a concern and similar to past viral videos that encourage unsafe behavior,” Massachusetts State Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey told the Boston Globe at the time. At least two incidents were reported in Massachusetts, with participants being charged with attempted arson.
“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,” Amazon said in a statement.
Thankfully, Livdahl’s daughter didn’t take Alexa’s recommendation.
“My daughter says she is too smart to do something like that anyway,” Livdahl tweeted.