Amazon launched a beta version of a crowdsourced Q & A platform in December last year to improve its ability to answer Alexa’s questions. A public service for this feature called Alexa Answers has been launched in the United States. According to Amazon, this feature has been very well received in the early community where only invited people could participate, and they continued to contribute by registering hundreds of thousands of answers, which are now Alexa users. Has been shared with millions of times.
Amazon is responsible for the content of the answer to distinguish this answer from the normal Alexa response.
According to what Amazon explained to the public, “Where is Barbara Bush buried?” “Who is the composer of Lord of the Rings”, “What is Cork made of?” Thousands of answers to questions that Alexa hasn’t been able to deal with, such as “Where are bats in the winter?”
Given that it is integrated with sources such as Bing, Alexa should already have the ability to answer such questions, but there are only a limited number of areas.
The ability to answer common questions like the one above is now one of the strengths of the Google Assistant. Thanks to the knowledge graph that Google has built over the years, based on the web-filled data.
In contrast, Amazon’s decision to rush to build a database of answers uses crowdsourcing to open itself to many potential challenges, especially abuse, and accuracy issues. It was a thing.
If you’ve used a crowdsourcing Q & A platform such as Yahoo Answers or Quora, you’ll know that a well-received answer isn’t always the best and right. Sometimes it is sloppy. In addition, those who participated in the reward system may want to be appointed as the top contributors, so they may try to burst their answers anyway. Not all of them are the best respondents to the questions they have sought.
Amazon is trying to deal with such problems with a platform that automatically filters out answers that are inappropriate or offending. In addition, Alexa shares the best-rated answer on the community platform, and points are given to those who answer the question.
To date, this community has been a limited world with only a small number of invited people.
Now everyone with an account in the US Amazon can contribute. From the list of prepared questions, filter by the most frequently asked or latest filter, or select a question from the topics. Points will be awarded for writing answers and posted on the weekly and monthly leaderboards. In addition, badges will be awarded based on the number of questions answered and the number of times shared between Alexa users.
“This feature is just one example of the ongoing efforts to improve Alexa’s capabilities,” an Amazon spokesman said. “As always, we are willing to evolve the experience based on customer feedback.”
So far, there are no reports of unpleasant feelings with this feature, but it is not yet widespread. It’s also unclear whether Amazon has enough power to eliminate those who try to disrupt the online community for flaming purposes.
Crowdsourcing itself isn’t bad, but it’s an area that needs to be closely monitored, as Wikipedia, for example, knows well. In the case of Wikipedia, the result is that an elite group verifies most of the content of the site. In the case of Alexa Answers, it is difficult to introduce such a vigilance system because community leaders are competing with leader boards. From such gamification, we cannot expect much cooperation and help.
A better model could be Reddit’s cryptocurrency, graded reward accuracy, and how strong community leaders maintain moderation by topic. However, it takes time and effort to grow a community organically. Today’s voice assistants are in a state of sprinting, where each function sticks to each other. It’s not a marathon.
Alexa Answers is published on alexaanswers.amazon.com/about (requires a US Amazon account).