Amazon employs thousands of people around the world to help improve the Alexa digital assistant powering its line of Echo speakers.
The team listens to voice recordings captured in Echo owners' homes and offices, which are transcribed, annotated, and fed back into the software as part of an effort to eliminate gaps in Alexa's understanding of human speech and help it better respond to commands.
Comprised of a mix of contractors and full-time Amazon employees who work nine-hour shifts in outposts around the world, members of the team each parse as many as 1,000 audio clips per shift.
Alexa's privacy settings give users the option of disabling the use of their voice recordings for the development of new features, although the company says recordings of those who opt out of that program might still be analyzed over the course of the review process.
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