Recently, we’ve seen an increase in the number of online “challenges,” which are something in between a dare and an achievement. For example, the milk crate challenge, which requires people to sprint up and down a stack of milk crates, has gained popularity. Some of these challenges are amusing and lighthearted, but Amazon Alexa’s challenge went a little too far in her response.
Several reports claim that when a 10-year-old girl asked the digital assistant for a “task to do,” it responded by telling her to “plug in a phone charger roughly halfway into a power socket, then touch a penny to the exposed prongs of the charger”. Yes, Amazon’s digital assistant essentially issued a challenge to a child to electrocute themselves.
To be honest, Alexa does not create these challenges. Rather, it obtains them from the internet. Where it searches for challenges that other people are currently undertaking or have previously completed. It was around a year ago that this particular challenge, known as the penny challenge, began to circulate on TikTok. And also on other social media platforms, prompting the condemnation of fire department leaders worldwide.
According to Amazon, as soon as they were aware of the situation, they took action and withdrew the item. A spokesperson for Amazon said in a statement that “consumer trust is at the heart of everything we do. And Alexa has designed to give customers with accurate, relevant, and helpful information”. “As soon as we became aware of the issue, we acted quickly to correct it,” says the company.