Amazon employees eavesdrop on consumer conversations with Alexa


“Hey Alexa”, probably gets the job done and is one of the most successful virtual assistant of the modern era, thanks to Amazon. The smart assistant Alexa doesn’t only answer your questions on the Amazon Smart Speaker, but now a team of humans are assisting the assistant polish and improve her skills.

A report from Bloomberg claims that the manufacturing company of Alexa, has human reviewers in various parts of the world listening to hundreds and thousands of recording captured by Alexa everyday. Some of the countries where these recording are being monitored are: Romania, Costa Rica, India and United States (Boston). Some workers who spoke with Bloomberg, anonymously perhaps, stated that monitoring such recording allows them to help Alexa get better at her what she does.

The employees claim to use this monitoring method to minimise the errors in Alexa’s understanding of certain terms and bring a more convenient experience to the consumers without the consumers repeating their demands. This process of monitoring audio, also known as “Eavesdropping”, adopted by Amazon, often results in private or sometimes rather disturbing audio recordings.

Amazon’s spokes person responded to the report by saying, “We only annotate an extremely small sample of Alexa voice recordings in order improve the customer experience. For example, this information helps us train our speech recognition and natural language understanding systems, so Alexa can better understand your requests, and ensure the service works well for everyone”. The spokesperson added, “All information is treated with high confidentiality and we use multi-factor authentication to restrict access, service encryption, and audits of our control environment to protect it,”

Various tech companies like Google, Apple and ZTE have been known to use consumer information to improve user experience. Invasion of privacy or enhanced experience based on your search preference, it’s on us to decide. Artificial Intelligence is the future and it’s here to stay.