Amazon Begins Crowdsourcing Answers for Alexa From Its Users

By Nitish Singh / December 10, 2018

Even though Amazon’s smart assistant Alexa is capable of answering most questions very easily, its functionality does have its limits and the tech giant wants to close out the assistant’s gaps in knowledge. Starting this week, Amazon will be crowdsourcing answers through its new program ‘Alexa Answers’.

The Alexa Answers program is invite-only and those who sign up will be able to check out unanswered questions from a wide range of topics that include science, trivia, tech and more. As a registered user, you will be able to enter your own answers which will be used by the smart assistant from the beta’s database.

There are protective measures in place to ensure the answers are accurate and are not abused in any way. An upvote system is in place to select the best answers and answers also have a rating to showcase how helpful an answer is. The identity of the users will not be revealed and will simply be marked as “an Amazon customer”. Profane language and other filters are in place to prevent unhelpful answers from being relayed to other users.

Even though Alexa is the most popular voice assistant and is available on a large number of smart devices, it does have its drawbacks. The new program can help the smart assistant go beyond its realm of knowledge that is limited by online dictionaries and Wikipedia. Alexa does not use Google for searches due to a partnership between Microsoft and Amazon which makes the smart assistant use Bing instead.

With the internet being plagued by misinformation, it is unknown how effective the new program will be. A lot of the things we read on the internet are not true and it’s only natural for the average user to believe what he sees in “legitimate” sources like Wikipedia and news sites, which also report fake information from time to time. Ideally, the added human inputs will make the smart assistant better and not worse.

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