Thousands of Amazon workers hired to listen to recordings from Alexa

Thousands of Amazon workers hired to listen to recordings from Alexa”

Amazon has admitted to the publication that it's employing human workers to annotate Alexa voice recordings.

While Amazon says that the manual listening is done only for "quality control" purposes to improve its systems' understanding of competing pronunciations, it has emerged that staff are told to ignore distressed noises, such as assaults or cries for help.

E-commerce major Amazon is the leader of this space as the company offers plethora of Alexa-enabled Echo smart speakers.

Wired wrote that adding in support for "transfer learning", where Alexa tries to apply previously learned skills to new ones, has helped developers "cut down on the grunt work they'd otherwise face".

McDonald not only saw requests he made to Alexa but also discovered dozens of other audio clips that should not have been recorded.

"The teams use internal chat rooms to share files when they need help parsing a muddled word - or come across an amusing recording", Bloomberg says. And it's not just Amazon that does this, Apple and Google also use workers in the same way for improving Siri and Google Assistant.

Justin McDonald told I-Team Investigator Adam Walser that he loves his Amazon Echo. Amazon's privacy policy is vague when it should be explicit and direct with what it does with customer information.

Amazon's spokesperson responded thus: "We only annotate an extremely small sample of Alexa voice recordings in order [to] improve the customer experience". The marketing materials for the Echo claim "Alexa lives in the cloud and is always getting smarter", only hinting in the lengthy Alexa FAQ that "We use your requests to Alexa to train our speech recognition and natural language understanding systems".

"We have strict technical and operational safeguards, and have a zero tolerance policy for the abuse of our system", said the company statement. Apple's Siri is an example of the same.

Its human reviewers never receive personally identifiable information or the random ID.

What about Google's virtual assistant? Employees interpret as many as 1,000 audio clips in a 9-hour shift.

Demand for smart speakers is on the rise.

A common fear is that smart speakers are secretly recording everything that is said in the home.

The popularity of smart speakers has grown exponentially since they were first introduced to the United Kingdom in 2016.

Others told the news agency that each auditor may encounter as many as 100 recordings a day in which Alexa does not appear to have been deliberately activated by a user with a wake word or command (such as pressing a button). If the hot word is not detected on that short snippet, the snippet is immediately discarded.

Here's how to opt out of this feature if you don't want Amazon listening to your recordings. Visit's Alexa privacy settings FAQ page. Then go to the Keyboard menu (found in the General section) and switch off Dictation. Its privacy portal, which lets you download a copy of your personal data, says it can not provide information "that is not personally identifiable or linked to your Apple ID".

Like this



11 April 2019
The return of Cthulhu - the small sea critter
Palaeontologists have discovered the fossilised remains of a tentacled, spider-like sea creature now named " cthulhu ". To achieve the 3D reconstruction , the team had to grind a layer of the fossil away and take photos of each stage.

11 April 2019
AT&T announces more 5G markets, still won't sell you a 5G device
AT&T was, by some measures, the first carrier to roll out 5G wireless services in late 2018 . To that end, AT&T is planning to have "at least" three 5G mobile devices out this year.

11 April 2019
North Korea`s Kim says must deliver `blow` to those imposing sanctions: KCNA
Kim has continued his economic push in recent weeks despite the sanctions, Reuters reported . Security Council resolutions, need to remain in place", he added.

11 April 2019
Furious neighbor dismantles dentist’s ‘sexy’ lawn display in NJ
WPIX reported Gangi said the display was not really for Easter, but to pay homage to Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner. But the display's owner says it will soon be back up. "I got a son, you know, he's 16 years old", she said.

11 April 2019
Brawn says F1's 1000th GP its 'brightest symbol'
His death in the 1955 Indy technically made him the first driver to be killed while competing in a Formula One championship race. The country, which has a swelling number of motor sport enthusiasts, is a key market for F1's US-based owners Liberty Media.

11 April 2019
China, EU agree to strengthen trade relationship
It includes provisions to ban forced technology transfers and ensure foreign companies have access to public tenders. European Union diplomats said on Monday negotiators had made some progress, but were still short of an agreed text.

11 April 2019
Equal pay day: Exploring Michigan's wage gap
Financial figures would never be given without any explanation for them, and gender pay gap reporting should be no different. The mean hourly gender pay gap is -3.77% and the median hourly pay gap is -4.62%.

11 April 2019
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry to celebrate royal baby birth ‘in PRIVATE’
George's Chapel in Windsor Castle in Windsor, near London, England, Saturday, May 19, 2018. The royals have to abide by many rules, even including what they can and can't eat.

11 April 2019
Google Turns Android Smartphones Into 2FA Security Keys
It's probably your most important account, assuming you use a lot of Google services and protecting it is a must. Google also requires a ChromeOS/Mac/Windows 10 computer with Bluetooth, and a compatible browser (i.e.

11 April 2019
Heat star Dwyane Wade records triple-double in last National Basketball Association game
LeBron sat out the last six regular season games for the Los Angeles Lakers , so he's been free for the past couple of weeks now. There have been plenty of coaches and players this season who have said Wade can still play another 2-3 years.