By B.N. Frank
Earlier this month it was reported that “15% to 25% of new Alexa users during 2018 through 2021 completely abandoned the device in the second week of ownership.” Maybe more will stop using Alexa-enabled devices – or at least keep them away from their kids – because they can also give dangerous advice.
From The Hill:
Amazon updates AI after Alexa tells 10-year-old to try ‘penny challenge’
Amazon updated its Alexa artificial intelligence (AI) after a user posted that an Amazon device told their child to do what is known as the “penny challenge,” a company spokesperson said Thursday.
“Customer trust is at the center of everything we do and Alexa is designed to provide accurate, relevant, and helpful information to customers,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
“As soon as we became aware of this error, we quickly fixed it, and will continue to advance our systems to help prevent similar responses in the future,” they added.
The update comes a few days after a user on Twitter said their 10-year-old asked Alexa on an Echo device for a challenge. In response, Alexa gave information about what is known as the “penny challenge.”
“Here’s something I found on the web. According to ourcommunitynow.com: The challenge is simple: plug in a phone charger about halfway into a wall outlet, then touch a penny to the exposed prongs,” Alexa responded, according to the screenshot shared on Twitter.
The “penny challenge” trend gained popularity on the video sharing app TikTok, but some fire departments have been warning about potential dangers that it poses. Captain Brian Tanner with the Provo Fire Department in Utah posted a TikTok in January warning users against the challenge.
Additionally, Alexa and other “smart” and wireless appliances and devices often collect and share personal data on users without their knowledge or consent. They also emit harmful electromagnetic and wireless radiation (aka “Electrosmog”) which can cause symptoms and illness including in animals as well. In August, a federal court ruled in favor of organizations and petitioners that claim the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has NOT been adequately protecting Americans from biologically harmful radiation exposure from wireless devices and infrastructure (see also 1, 2, 3). Earlier this month, a group of non-profits also petitioned the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Health and Human Services Dept to declare wireless radiation as an “imminent” health hazard.
Alexa and her buddies sound less appealing all the time.
Activist Post reports regularly about unsafe technology. For more information, visit our archives and the following websites
- Electromagnetic Radiation Safety
- Environmental Health Trust
- Physicians for Safe Technology
- Wireless Information Network
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