Amazon asks users to help Alexa answer difficult questions

With Alexa Answers, Amazon is inviting select users to help answer some of the tough questions that Alexa couldn't.

Despite Alexa's extensive information database, there are still thousands of questions that stump the smart assistant. But starting today, Amazon is inviting select users to help answer some of the tough questions that Alexa couldn't.

The Alexa Answers feature essentially crowdsources answers from users to expand Alexa's knowledge base. When a user submits an answer, the information is turned into a voice response and given to Alexa customers with the preface, "According to an Amazon customer".

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"While Alexa can answer the vast majority of questions customers are asking every day, every once in a while, customers throw curve balls at us with various questions like 'Where was Barbara Bush buried?' or 'Who wrote the score for Lord of the Rings?' or 'What's cork made out of?' or 'Where do bats go in the winter?'," Amazon wrote in a blog post.

"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."

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Amazon said it operated a beta program of Alexa Answers internally and was able to add more than 100,000 responses that have since gone out to customers "millions of times".

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