Amazon is rolling out a new crowdsourcing program to let anybody provide answers to questions that Alexa is unable to answer. Alexa Answers is meant to expand the smart digital assistant’s knowledge base to keep it competitive with the Google Assistant and Apple’s Siri.
“Now, in addition to advanced technology such as machine learning and natural language understanding—and our many trustworthy information sources, we’re involving the Alexa customer community to help us answer questions Alexa can’t quite answer yet,” Amazon said.
Earlier the program was invitation only. Now it has been opened to the masses. Anyone can sign up using the Alexa Answer site and participate using their Amazon profile or anonymously.
Moreover, Alexa users will be able to judge the usefulness of an Alexa Answers question, as well. After the answer is provided, users can say if the answer was useful or not. If the answer gets enough nos, it is removed.
The ability to answer common questions is currently one of Google Assistant’s stronger features, thanks to the years Google spent building up a Knowledge Graph that’s based on a web’s worth of data. With this move, Amazon is looking to balance out this edge against its biggest rival.
However, Amazon’s decision to quickly ramp up its database of answers by way of crowdsourcing opens itself up to many potential challenges, including most notably, abuse and inaccuracy.