AfterDawn: Tech news

Amazon employees are listening to Alexa conversations, heard sexual assaults and children screaming

Written by Matti Vähäkainu (Google+) @ 11 Apr 2019 11:14

Amazon employees are listening to Alexa conversations, heard sexual assaults and children screaming Amazon's Echo is considered the first smart speaker that sparked the interest of Google, Apple, Samsung, and others to pursue this new type of AI enabled home tech.
Alexa has thus become nearly an eponym of voice assistants, and is referred often in both good and bad of what the technology has to potentially offer.

However, the success of Alexa's listening skills is more than super advanced machine learning algorithms and computer AI. In fact, Bloomberg's report tells that Amazon has employees all over the world listening to Alexa conversations to help enhance Alexa.

The employees listen to commands given by Alexa users, and while Amazon would deny that they listen to actual conversations or the content, they do record private conversations with customers to improve their service.

Not only are Alexa commands recorded, but according to Bloomberg's sources they also hear noises that aren't meant for Alexa's eletronic ears at all, including things like singing in the shower, children crying for help.

Some employees have reported hearing noises that they've suspected were part of a sexual assault. Amazon's internal policies however dictate that they shouldn't intervene.

To relieve stress from listening to harsh, perhaps even traumatic, things, Amazon has set up a chat room for the employees to discuss and share experiences.

The clips that are listened by employees are obviously only a small portion of what Alexa hears. According to Amazon, no audio is recorded unless the Echo hears a wake word.

However, as many of us Echo users know, that could be a something completely different that you said or a misheard phrase from TV in the background.

Previous Next Write a comment

Comment this article

Latest news

Tesla: Full autonomous driving feature ready by end of 2019, robotaxi service to launch in 2020 Tesla: Full autonomous driving "feature ready" by end of 2019, robotaxi service to launch in 2020 (22 Apr 2019 5:29)
Tesla just hosted its Tesla Autonomy Day today where it addressed its plans for autonomous driving. Company has massive plans for the near future, if everything goes as they hope fot. Firstly, ....
Here's how to transfer all the important data from an old Android phone to a new one Here's how to transfer all the important data from an old Android phone to a new one (21 Apr 2019 8:10)
Switching smartphones can be a pain in the behind, especially if you are switching platforms. However, even getting a new Android phone to replace an old one can be stress inducing when you ....
Amazon Prime Music is available now for free too, kind of Amazon Prime Music is available now for free too, kind of (20 Apr 2019 11:32)
Amazon has introduced a new tier to its subscription music streaming service. Prime Music is from now on available also for free, and without a Prime membership. Obviously there is no such ....
Google and Amazon settle differences with Prime Video, YouTube, Chromecast Google and Amazon settle differences with Prime Video, YouTube, Chromecast (18 Apr 2019 11:45)
A dispute broke out between Google and Amazon approximately two years ago when Amazon released the first smart display, Echo Show. The device combined a display with smart speaker functionality, ....
Android will soon offer EU users to switch to another search engine and browser Android will soon offer EU users to switch to another search engine and browser (18 Apr 2019 8:20)
European Union slapped Google a 4.3 billion euro ($5bn) fine last year for breaking EU's competition laws with Android operating system. Now Google has outlined its plans on how it will comply ....

News archive