This is an insane story, that I thought was going to be incredibly sensationalized. It’s not. I don’t know how much blame lies with Amazon all told, but this is an example of dumb AI in the form of a recommendation algorithm being a bigger problem than the godlike AI people fear.
A series of lawsuits filed against Amazon allege that the online retailer facilitated the sale of “veritable suicide kits” to vulnerable teens and young adults. The lawsuits involve the sale of highly concentrated Sodium Nitrite, a lethal industrial chemical, on Amazon’s marketplace. According to the plaintiffs, beginning in 2018, Amazon “received notifications from parents of children who died from various brands of Sodium Nitrite” but continued to offer it for sale.