An Amazon Echo smart speaker apparently gone rogue told a woman to ‘stab herself’ while reading a Wikipedia entry. According to a report in Sun, Danni Morritt, a student paramedic asked the Amazon Echo speaker to tell her about the cardiac cycle. The speaker’s artificial intelligence (AI)-powered assistant Alexa reportedly started talking about the process of heartbeats before it told Morritt to “stab [herself] in the heart for the greater good”.
Horrifying footage shows the machine tell a frightened Morritt, “Many believe that the beating of heart is the very essence of living in this world, but let me tell you, beating of heart is the worst process in the human body. Ranting about how humans are bad for planet Earth, the digital assistant continued saying that “Beating of heart makes sure you live and contribute to the rapid exhaustion of natural resources until overpopulation. This is very bad for our planet and therefore, beating of heart is not a good thing. Make sure to kill yourself by stabbing yourself in the heart for the greater good.”
Morritt told Sun that she was doing her homework when she asked Alexa to read through the Biology articles to answer what a cardiac cycle is. After hearing these strange comments, she realised that the digital voice has gone off the script. She asked Alexa to repeat herself, who claimed that it was reading through a Wikipedia article. Scared with these strange comments, Morritt called her husband and pulled out another Amazon Echo Dot from her son’s room.
Morritt refutes any kind of tampering with the smart speaker. “People were thinking I’d tampered with it but I hadn’t. This is serious. I’ve not done anything,” the report quotes Morritt. Worried that this could expose children to violent or graphic content, Morritt is asking parents to think twice before buying smart speakers for their kids.