Hey Alexa … stop spying on us. Amazon workers are listening to private and sometimes disturbing voice recordings from Alexa to improve the voice-assistants’ understanding of human speech. The company has admitted to its customers that thousands of recordings are being analyzed by staff and transcribed before feeding them back into the software. As many as 1,000 clips are reviewed by workers in buildings all over the world. Among more sinister content the workers have heard, have been a child screaming for help and two instances where they believed they heard a sexual assault taking place. The revelations once again raise thorny ethical questions over the future of AI smart assistants in the home, how tech companies like Amazon are gathering personal information and just what they are – and should – be doing with it. Amazon confirmed the revelations when approached by Bloomberg saying that “an extremely small sample of Alexa voice recordings” are analyzed by staff. Staff members have said that the work is mostly mundane, however they do come across embarrassing clips, like a woman singing off-key in the shower.
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