Amazon Employs Thousands of People to Listen to Your Alexa Conversations

The Echo Input turns dumb speakers into Alexa-capable smart ones.                  Tyler Lizenby  CNET

According to Bloomberg's report, Amazon employs "thousands" of people across the world tasked with improving Alexa's voice-recognition features.

Two "reviewers", the employees who listen to and transcribe the sound, were interviewed by Bloomberg.

Two unnamed sources told the publication that in several cases they picked up potentially criminal and upsetting activities, accidentally recorded by Alexa.

"We take the security and privacy of our customers' personal information seriously", an Amazon spokesman said in a statement emailed to Bloomberg.

Amazon also explained that, by default, its Echo speakers only begin sending audio to the cloud when it is activated with the press of a button or the device hears the chosen wake word, such as "Alexa" or "Amazon". This revelation today at least partly confirms the validity of their concerns.

Bloomberg interviewed seven separate sources about the program, some of whom said Amazon's workers are expected to analyse approximately 1,000 audio clips per nine-hour shift. Bloomberg found that Apple also has a human team that checks whether Siri's interpretation of requests matches what was asked by users.

Recordings sent to the human teams do not provide full names, but they do connect to an account name, device serial number, and the user's first name to clips.

Visits tracker: Nick Bosa meeting with 49ers
Of course, Bosa has since then been Twitter verified by the site and changed his avi but this is very much his tweet. Below are some of the players who will likely go in the first round and who you should target in your IDP drafts.

Damn, Another Toy May Have Just Really Spoiled AVENGERS: ENDGAME
For example, " Captain America: The First Avenger " took place in the World War II era, according to Box Office Mojo. Marvel has experimented with older films before.

Newly assertive European Union to face resistant China at summit
The stakes are high with two-way trade between the European Union and China worth around 1 billion euros (USD 1.1 billion) a day. The statement also says the two sides aim to conclude negotiations on a deal to liberalize and expand investment in 2020.

The spokesperson added that employees can't directly access identifying information about the people or accounts associated with the recordings, among other protections for the data, and "zero tolerance" for any abuse.

The help page of the Amazon website dedicated to Alexa states that Amazon may "use your requests to Alexa to train our speech recognition and natural language understanding systems". Staffers have also raised the alarm when overhearing distressing situations like a child calling out for help, and instances where a sexual assault might have occurred.

The report claims that sometimes the workers can hear chatter in the background of the recordings they are working on, but the report says that the workers aren't allowed to comment on what they do.

But Amazon could have been more explicit about the role of human reviewers. The teams use internal chat rooms to share files when they need help parsing a muddled word-or come across an amusing recording.

Amazon says it has internal procedures for when employees hear something disturbing, but when Bloomberg spoke to employees, they said they were told "it wasn't Amazon's job to interfere".

The reports raise questions as to the legality of failing to report a potential crime, as well questions about the possible ramifications for Amazon employees who could well be distressed by hearing this kind of recording. Apple uses a similar system of human workers to improve Siri, but it doesn't include any identifying data with the recordings.

But we have often read about some of the glitches faced by Echo smart speakers and how Alexa can listen to the conversations of its owners and then share it with another user.



Latest news

Meet the woman who helped create algorithm for capturing black hole photo
Bouman, an imaging scientist, led the creation of an algorithm to help capture one of the greatest mysteries of the universe. The data for this black hole came in two years ago , and scientists have been forming it into a clear image since then.

Like Dad, Like Daughter: Kim Kardashian Is Studying To Become A Lawyer
Kim's desire to become a lawyer stemmed from her much-publicized help in freeing Alice Marie Johnson from prison previous year . To me, torts are the most confusing, contracts the most boring, and crime law I can do in my sleep.

Mick Cronin Officially Named the New Head Coach of UCLA MBB
Life certainly is a feisty mistress for the UCLA basketball program, last week they were courting John Calipari . Throughout the UCLA coaching search debacle, one name has remained: Mick Cronin , head coach at Cincinnati .

Israeli spacecraft Beresheet reaches moon but landing unsuccessful: support team
Beresheet ended up covering about 4 million miles (6.5 million kilometers) during this phase of the mission, team members said. Beresheet's story begins in 2011, when the nonprofit organization SpaceIL formed to compete in the Google Lunar X Prize .

Trump says he is discussing potential further meetings with North Korea's Kim
Security Council resolutions, need to remain in place until the verification of denuclearization has been completed", he said. Trump said Kim was asking for sanctions relief without wanting to fully dismantle all of his nuclear weapons programs.

Remarkable photo of black hole released in astrophysics breakthrough
National Science Foundation Director France Cordova. "We're seeing the unseeable". "It did bring tears to my eyes", Cordova added. And just to start to take pictures the weather had to be good at all eight telescopes on the same days in April 2017.

Trump adds Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps to United States list of terrorist groups
The pro-reform Shargh daily described it as "the last card" of President Donald Trump against Iran. They also chanted "Death to America" and "Death to Israel" in the public session.

Black hole image gives Twitter a field day
MIT graduate and computer scientist Katie Bouman, 29, led the creation of a new algorithm used for the breakthrough. Katie Bouman has worked on the imaging project for the Event Horizon Telescope for about 12 years.

Phil Mickelson: Don’t rule out Tiger Woods in 2019 Masters at Augusta
Soaking rain on Monday and Tuesday could heighten long-hitting McIlroy's chances, making the course play longer. Dustin Johnson is no stranger to Sunday at a major championship, especially at Augusta National.

New York City Declares Measles Public Health Emergency In Select ZIP Codes
At least 285 people have contracted the disease in the city since September, mostly in Brooklyn's Williamsburg neighbourhood. Most of the NY cases involved unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated individuals, according to de Blasio's office.

Libs say lawsuit threat needed to stop Scheer's 'misinformation' on SNC-Lavalin
She says there was no vote and Trudeau expelled them anyway on the basis that the caucus didn't trust them anymore. Put another way, MPs ought to have a say in how their organization - the caucus - is run.

Museveni vows ‘Uganda is safe’ after tourist kidnap
The gunmen had demanded a ransom of $500,000 (about Shs1.8b) using Ms Sue and Mirenge's cell phones. The two are said to have been released on Sunday April 7.

AT&T turns on mobile 5G in parts of seven more cities
Sadly, the only device with support right now is the Netgear 5G hotspot. AT&T said it plans to offer at least three 5G mobile devices this year.

Snapchat releases a Rebuild app for Android users
It's very easy for us to build an Android app that will work well on flagship devices like the Pixel 3. The revamped version of Snapchat is now available on Google Playstore .

Burger King pulls NZ chopsticks ad after outcry in China
There were some social media users who gave Burger King, which operates 1,000 stores in China, the benefit of the doubt. But particularly since the rise of social media, that message has become hard to control and reel in at all times.

Other news