Weblog: Alexa, would you like to learn something new?

Alexa Answers is an exercise by Amazon’s digital voice assistant to get smarter

With an estimated 100 million Alexa devices sold to date, you can be sure Amazon's digital voice assistant answers a lot of questions on a daily basis. However, anyone familiar with the software knows that it doesn't always have the answer you're looking for; so Amazon thinks crowdsourcing is the solution and has just launched Alexa Answers.

Anyone with an Amazon account can log on and get started. I tried it out and had some questions waiting for me. By providing an answer to: “do sharks breathe underwater” and “how do I defrost chicken” I was able to earn bonus points, which will increase should anyone ask these questions again and be served my answers.

Goal of learning

"Our North Star, our overall vision, is we'd love it if Alexa can answer any question people ask her, no matter what the language, where they are, what the device," Bill Barton, Amazon's vice president of Alexa Information, told Fast Company.

One certainty is that people will inevitably give Alexa answers that are inaccurate or peppered with profanities but Amazon says it will use machine learning combined with an upvoting system to help filter out this kind of content.