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Alexa turns to customers for help in answering extra tough questions

/ 07:17 PM December 10, 2018
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Amazon is turning towards customers to answer the questions that Alexa can’t. Image: AFP/Grant Hindsley via AFP Relaxnews

Do you know where bats go in the winter? How about what cork is made out of? Alexa previously didn’t, so she turned towards customers who did for the answers.

It’s not often that Alexa gets stumped by a question, but of course her knowledge is finite, despite it seeming like she knows everything. To answer those difficult inquiries, Amazon will be sending emails to customers inviting them to add information lacking from Alexa’s knowledge matrix via a feature called Alexa Answers.

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As of this week, contributors began adding information on topics like how long it takes for an ice cube tray to freeze or who wrote the score for “Lord of the Rings”. Such questions began being answered last month during the beta test of the feature, during which over 100,000 contributions were added to Alexa’s knowledge which have been provided to customers millions of times already.

When a customer receives an email, they are sent to the Alexa Answers site where they can browse through customer-asked questions that Alexa couldn’t answer. When they find an inquiry that they can accurately answer, they can type up their response and submit it. When a user then asks a question for which the customer-provided information would be an appropriate response, Alexa will inform the user that the answer came from “an Amazon customer” and then follow this statement up with the answer.

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Slowly but surely, Alexa’s knowledge is filling out. Though it’s hard to imagine Amazon’s goal of the assistant being able to answer “every question in all forms from anywhere in the world” could ever be achieved, it’s not so farfetched anymore. JB

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TAGS: “Alexa”, “Lord of the Rings”, AI, Alexa Answers, Artificial Intelligence
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