Amazon’s Alexa will now allow customers to provide answers to questions it doesn’t know via a new crowdsourcing platform.
Alexa Answers, which was announced by the retail giant yesterday, will allow Alexa community members to submit answers to some of the most obscure questions posed to its smart devices.
Users must sign in to the Alexa Answers website with an existing Amazon account, and will then be presented with a list of questions posed to Alexa which it has been unable to answer.
The list can be filtered by most recent, most frequently asked, or by a range of specific topics and subjects.
When Alexa provides an answer from Alexa Answers, it will say “according to an Amazon customer”.
This has understandably raised some red flags among Alexa owners, but Amazon says there are filters in place to prevent any swear words, offensive language, or offensive topics from surfacing.
Community members will also be able to flag inappropriate or incorrect answers, and vote answers up or down, while human editors and algorithms will also be involved in quality control.
“High-quality answers are important to us, and this is something we take seriously,” Amazon stated.
Alexa Answers users will also have public stats, showing how many answers they have contributed, how they were rated, and how many times their answers have been shared by Alexa.
“We’re leaning into the positive energy and good faith of the contributors, and we use machine learning and algorithms to weed out the noisy few, the bad few,” Amazon Alexa’s vice president Bill Barton told Fast Company.
“But we’re not going to suppress the magical experience we can give to 99 customers because one person had something different in mind”.