Alexa’s crowdsource platform allows flawed answers

Amazon’s recently-launched Alexa Answers is already creating problems, according to VentureBeat.

The crowdsource-based feature lets the public add questions and answers for queries that Alexa does not have any available information on.

VentureBeat analysed public data submitted to Alexa Answers which revealed that false and misleading questions and answers are being accepted and delivered to users of Alexa-enabled devices.

The platform uses a points-based system to help identify what are supposed to be the most credible answers.

Once a question and answer go “live”, a feedback rating from users who ask the same question and receive crowdsourced answers increases or decreases the submission’s score.

Answers with higher-rated scores are more likely to be served.

Contradicting answers

VentureBeat details multiple examples of how Amazon’s text-to-speech system can provide contradicting answers.

For example, the question “Why are cows bad for the environment?” offers users an answer that explains how cows expel large amounts of methane.

Alexa also provides a second answer, however, that claims that the methane theory is made up by “climate change radicals”.

Certain questions even provided what appeared to be sponsored answers, including the recommendation of a tool to help quickly solve a Rubik’s cube.

Alexa does note when an answer was provided by a customer, however.

Now read: Tell your guests you have a smart speaker – Google hardware chief

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Alexa’s crowdsource platform allows flawed answers