Your Alexa smart speaker is about to get a whole lot dumber
In a world of fake news, Amazon wants to let users spread even more.
When you ask your smart assistant a question, you expect the response to be a researched, known fact, right? It’s not too much to ask out of a smart assistant, yet here were are.
What started as a test back in December, is now available to everyone through the Alexa Answers crowdsourcing platform, according to Fast Company. Yeah, this isn’t going to end terribly, nope. If anyone needs me, I’ll be hiding out in the woods with Curtis and Jared.
The Alexa Answers platform lets anyone answer questions that the smart assistant doesn’t know the answers to
While smart assistants are good for answering many questions, there are still plenty of straightforward questions that Alexa is unable to answer. And that’s ok. What’s not ok is that now when Alexa doesn’t know the answer, it will answer questions based on customer answers from the new Answers platform and slap on “According to an Amazon customer” voice clip to wipe their hands clean of responsibility.
Oh, and Amazon is also gamifying the whole experience, with users getting stats on their answers, including number of shares, numbers of questions answered, etc etc etc. Which will just encourage people to answer more and more questions, regardless of actual facts.
Listen, people are shit. Not only that, people are stupid. So whether malicious or otherwise, there is going to be plenty of inaccurate answers that your erratic aunt then spouts as truth during a family get-together.
What’s Amazon doing to quell trolls and incorrect answers? The answer is very little. AI will filter out profanity and keep answers from being unnecessarily political, but besides that, they are trusting other users and a basic upvote/downvote system to keep incorrect answers on the low.
Again, this is dumb and we’ll probably get an email from Amazon telling us how wrong we are with a bunch of PR puff words and the word “factually” thrown around a lot, but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
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