TAMPA, FL (FOX 13) – Alexa is always listening. This is according to the workers at Amazon.
Teams around the world are listening to and transcribing the recordings, then sending them back to the Echo software to clear the gaps in Alexa's ability to understand speech, according to a Bloomberg report.
Sometimes employees can even hear gossip in the background while Alexa is activated, but they are not allowed to talk about their work, Bloomberg said.
"They could fine-tune their speech recognition, they could fine-tune what you're asking for to help improve their artificial intelligence and intelligence and to make sure what you're asking for is what it has," he said. Jacob Lott, technician. with the computer scientists in Tampa. "They do it to intuitively learn what people are asking for, so the process is good.The scary thing is that they just did not let people join, which a lot people would have if they knew. "
Workers, ranging from contract employees to full-time employees, reportedly signed confidentiality agreements and listened to up to 1,000 audio clips for every nine hours.
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Although Amazon has apparently put in place procedures in case of potential criminal conspiracy, two workers in Romania told Bloomberg that they had been told that it was not up to Amazon to intervene. In other cases, workers reported using internal discussion forums to share recordings that they found amusing.
According to Bloomberg, when workers encounter a background conversation about personal information, such as bank details, they are supposed to create the audio file as "critical data" and then move on to another piece of data.
Some Echo owners are uncomfortable knowing that someone may be listening to them, while others are not worried about them.
"I have the impression that it is an invasion of my privacy to listen to my conversations," said Seminole's Ginger Anderson. "The idea that they will analyze them so that they can then use that information to offer more options, I question that."
"I think the good outweighs the bad," Annette Chapa said. "It's easier. That's really the case and I'll be 64 in May. It's good to be able to do something for you or to tell you where to go. "
In a statement to Fox News, a spokeswoman for Amazon said:
"We take the security and privacy of our customers' personal information seriously. We only annoton a very small number of interactions from a random group of customers in order to improve the customer experience. "For example, this information helps us train our voice recognition and natural language understanding systems, so that Alexa can better understand your requests, and make sure that the service works well for everyone. "
Apple's Siri and Google Assistant also have human workers who listen to audio clips, but companies have reported to Bloomberg that records are not tied to personally-identifying information.
"We have strict technical and operational safeguards and a zero tolerance policy for abuse of our system. Employees do not have direct access to information to identify the person or account as part of this workflow. All information is treated with great confidentiality and we use multi-factor authentication to limit access, encryption of services and audits of our control environment to protect it, "Amazon told Fox News.
Alexa users can turn off their voice recordings to develop new features by following these steps:
-Open the Alexa app and click on the menu button.
-Press "Alexa Account", then select "Alexa Privacy".
-Next, choose "Manage how your data improves Alexa".
-Turn off the button next to "Help Developing New Features."
– Disable the button next to your name under "Use messages to improve transcripts".