Amazon Begins Crowdsourcing Alexa Answers – What Could Go Wrong?

As an Amazon Echo customer, how often do you hear Alexa say…

Hmmm…I don’t know that

Amazon is determined to make that statement a thing of the past, as it opens up access to its Alexa Answers technology. Alexa Answers has been in testing internally at Amazon for some time and now the company is ready to begin a slow public rollout by sending out email invites to certain customers.

Beginning today, via invitation-only, customers can add answers and information to Alexa through a new feature we call Alexa Answers. Those who receive an invite via email can start contributing answers to Alexa today. We’re excited to get Alexa customers involved. In the last month, through our internal Alexa Answers beta program, we’ve added more than 100,000 responses which have been given to customers millions of times.

This invite-only program should expand next year after Amazon determines how best to manage the technology. But, as we’ve experienced in the past, these types of crowd-fueled AI structures can have the wrong effect. Remember Microsoft’s AI on Twitter. Based on user gaming, it turned racist in less than 24 hours. Still, AI has to get better – eventually. Either that, or we’ll all be taken down by our robotic overlords. What people tend to forget, though, is that AI is created by an imperfect being and so it can never be anything but tainted.