Do you say, “Hello Alexa, I am lonely again today?” Apparently, thousands of its workers around the world can hear the recordings of your conversations. This, they claim, they did in a bid to improve the ability of the Alexa voice assistant to understand human speech.
Amazon says that it only tasks humans to review a small sample of Alexa voice recordings. Apparently, the moderators have a chatroom where they can ask for help. Sometimes though, they hear some amusing recordings and some upsetting ones too.
The company has a mix of full-time employees and contractors from all over the globe. They review and transcribe clips of conversations between users and Alexa. The idea is to let humans investigate those interactions to help identify phrases like “Beyoncé” that the software may not understand.
Amazon also says they only listen in on an extremely small sample of Alexa voice recordings to improve customer experience. The information gathered will help the company train the system to understand natural language and speech recognition better. This is so that Alexa can understand the requests and give users a more wholesome experience.
They also say the employees do not have direct access to information that can identify the person speaking. Amazon treats all the information with high confidentiality. Also, they use multi-factor authentication to restrict access.
According to reports, the Amazon workers have a chat room where they can get help if they don’t understand a word or have a laugh about a funny recording. An Amazon worker also said that each member of their team will listen to as many as 100 clips a day where Alexa was mistakenly activated.