Amazon Updates Alexa Following Penny Challenge Incident

Amazon has issued an update for devices that use its Alexa voice assistant technology after one of their Echo devices suggested a child perform the “penny challenge,” involving placing a coin on an exposed plug.

Earlier this week, a Twitter user posted that her Amazon Echo told her daughter to place a coin on a plug that is half-connected to an electrical outlet. The child did not attempt to perform the “penny challenge,” and Amazon apologized for the incident.

Kristin Livdahl tweeted a screenshot of her Amazon Echo activity showing the suggestion: “Here’s something I found on the web. According to The challenge is simple: plug in a phone charger about halfway into a wall outlet, then touch a penny to the exposed prongs.”

“Customer trust is at the center of everything we do and Alexa is designed to provide accurate, relevant, and helpful information to customers,” an Amazon spokesperson said on Thursday, according to The Hill.

“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 said.

Canadian fire prevention division chief Matt Covey warned against attempting the “challenge” in an interview with Global News last year, when the “penny challenge” trend first appeared, saying that “You could set yourself on fire, you could set the building on fire and you can also damage things within the building. You’re damaging the electrical outlet. You could be damaging things in behind the wall where there’s wires or the electrical panel … so you could cause a whole bunch of hazards, some of them right away.”


He exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence and causes the earth and those who dwell on it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. He performs great signs, making fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. He deceives those who dwell on the earth by the signs which he was granted to do in the presence of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by a sword and lived. He was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. He causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their forehead,  so that no one may buy or sell, except he who has the mark or the name of the beast or the number of his name.

Here is a call for wisdom: Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast. It is the number of a man. His number is six hundred and sixty-six. (Revelation 13:12-18 Modern English Version)

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