May 25, 2022

Amazon responds after Alexa encourages harmful penny problem

Amazon Echos are quite common good house gadgets. The good audio system present handy entry to music, management over good house gadgets, and fast solutions to questions – they are often fairly useful. However these gadgets are removed from good, as illustrated by an Alexa system encouraging a ten-year-old to take part within the penny problem, the place you employ a penny to the touch the prongs of a plug related to a wall outlet.

The Alexa system pulled the details about this problem (which is clearly harmful, and may not be tried) from the online, because it usually does when requested questions.

The kid’s mother or father explained on Twitter:

We have been doing a little bodily challenges, like laying down and rolling over holding a shoe in your foot, from a Phy Ed instructor on YouTube earlier. Unhealthy climate outdoors. She simply wished one other one.

Right here’s what the Alexa system mentioned in response to the kid’s question “inform me a problem to do”:

Right here’s one thing I discovered on the internet. Based on The problem is straightforward: plug in a cellphone charger about midway right into a wall outlet, then contact a penny to the uncovered prongs.

The quote is pulled, not from a web site encouraging the problem (which unfold round social media final 12 months), however from this page, which is entitled, “Watch Out, Mother and father—the Viral ‘Outlet Problem’ Has Youngsters Doing the Unthinkable!”

The web page proceeds to warn in regards to the problem and follows the quote that the Alexa system learn with, “the ensuing sparks are imagined to be cool sufficient to win you on the spot web fame. (Clearly, do NOT try this!)

Whereas it’s comprehensible how a pc educated on key phrase recognition might make a mistake like this, it’s harmful nonetheless and highlights the significance of human oversight in these programs – particularly when they’re aimed towards children.

In a statement to the BBC, Amazon confirmed it has made a change to forestall Alexa from recommending these actions and mentioned:

Buyer belief is on the heart of all the pieces we do and Alexa is designed to offer correct, related, and useful data to clients.

Now, in response to related queries my Alexa system has provided varied solutions starting from recommending the talent “Fortnite Problem Roulette” to offering the definition of the phrase “problem,” however no suggestions to take part in any harmful challenges.

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