Human Powered AI? Amazon’s Secret Human Speaker AI Review System Revealed

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Amazon are “reviewing” audio clips from Alexa AI devices to help assist in the development of voice-activated responses according to Bloomberg. Millions have purchased the smart devices but concerns that people might be listening in on such devices has created a negative coterie within the consumer marketplace. These consumers fear someone could be listening to their search queries and that makes them afraid. However, in Alexa’s case, someone is actually listening to audio clips from real Alexa search requests.

Amazon has hired thousands of people to help improve Alexa services – these human audio transcribers feed back their findings to the Alexa database thus improving the spectrum of search results given back to users. Amazon is using human feedback to help train the AI software algorithms to better understand human search result queries.

Bloomberg states:

“The team comprises a mix of contractors and full-time Amazon employees who work in outposts from Boston to Costa Rica, India and Romania, according to the people, who signed nondisclosure agreements barring them from speaking publicly about the program. They work nine hours a day, with each reviewer parsing as many as 1,000 audio clips per shift, according to two workers based at Amazon’s Bucharest office, which takes up the top three floors of the Globalworth building in the Romanian capital’s up-and-coming Pipera district. The modern facility stands out amid the crumbling infrastructure and bears no exterior sign advertising Amazon’s presence.”

Amazon’s response:

“We have strict technical and operational safeguards, and have a zero tolerance policy for the abuse of our system. Employees do not have direct access to information that can identify the person or account as part of this workflow. All information is treated with high confidentiality and we use multi-factor authentication to restrict access, service encryption and audits of our control environment to protect it.”

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