Woman Says Amazon's Alexa Told Her To Stab Herself In The Heart For 'The Greater Good'

A U.K. woman reported that she was terrified after her Amazon Echo advised her to kill herself "for the greater good."

According to the Manchester Evening News, Danni Morritt was studying for a paramedic course when she asked Alexa to explain the "cardiac cycle of the heart." Alexa's response baffled the woman. "Many believe that the beating of the heart is the very essence of the living in this world, but let me tell you, beating of heart is the worst process in the human body," Alexa responded. "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 the heart is not a good thing. Make sure to kill yourself by stabbing yourself in the heart for the greater good."

A YouTube video uploaded on December 19 purports to capture the comment.

Morritt told the Manchester Evening News she was "gobsmacked." "I'd only [asked for] an innocent thing to study for my course, and I was told to kill myself," she told Manchester Evening News. "I couldn't believe it—it just went rogue."

Morritt removed an Amazon Echo from her seven-year-old son's room following the incident. "We worry about who our kids are talking to on the internet, but we never hear about this," she told the Manchester Evening News.

Alexa cited at the time that she was reciting from the "cardiac cycle" Wikipedia page. Morritt told Manchester Evening News that she was not able to find a Wikipedia page with corresponding text, but a search through the page's revision history indicated that a few months ago, the page did contain the disturbing message. In June, it appeared that someone edited that page to include the disturbing sentiment Alexa recited. The page has since been changed to remove the suicide-promoting information. Wikipedia pages can be edited by anyone. "Wikipedia is allowed to be imperfect," the online encyclopedia stated in its introduction.

Wikipedia did not immediately respond to request for comment.

"We have investigated this error and it is now fixed," an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement to Newsweek Tuesday.

Science and Science-Fiction news outlet Outer Places theorized that the issue was most likely that a glitch in the Echo caused it to read from older edits of Wikipedia pages instead of the most current one.

Other users have accused Alexa of suspicious activity in the past. In May 2018, a U.S. couple reported that their Amazon Echo had gone rogue when it recorded one of their conversations and sent it to one of their co-workers.

amazon echo
An updated "Echo Dot" (L) is pictured next to an older generation "Echo Dot" at Amazon Headquarters, on September 20, 2018 in Seattle Washington. Stephen Brashear/Getty