(Pocket-lint) - Congratulations, you’re the newest source for Alexa to draw upon when answering users' questions.
Amazon last December announced a new scheme, called Alexa Answers, with the goal of helping Alexa answer difficult questions that would've normally stumped the assistant. It's powered entirely by Alexa users like yourself. Now, Amazon is expanding its crowdsourced Alexa Answers program to anyone. It was previously only available to testers in an early, invitation-only beta.
What is Alexa Answers?
While Alexa can answer many questions people are asking it every day, every once in a while it gets thrown a curveball. Niche or obscure 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?" - are the types of requests Alexa typically has trouble fielding from Alexa users.
Now, with Alexa Answers, Amazon is allowing all Alexa users to help answer these questions through a new Alexa Answers website. The idea is, when Alexa is asked these questions by someone in the future, the assistant will use the crowd-sourced answers that users provide. It always note the answer was submitted by a user. While testing this feature, Amazon added over 100,000 responses.
How does Alexa Answers work?
Amazon said there will be various topics that you can select from to find questions already posed by other users. You can submit any answer, and going forward, Alexa use all crowd-sourced answers it received - while noting they were submitted by Amazon customers. If more than one answer is provided, Alexa will rotate between answers until it determines via feedback which is best.
How to join
- Go to the Alexa Answers website and click Get started.
- Browse questions that match your interest or expertise.
- Write an answer for Alexa to share with other users.
- Alexa will then share your answer with a customer who asks the same question.
Will Alexa Answers spread fake news?
It’s easy to see the potential in Alexa Answers; however, we too can imagine Alexa turning into something that spreads fake news and can’t be totally trusted. Amazon likely hopes to mitigate this by allowing users to earn points when Alexa uses their answer. You’ll also be able to track how often Alexa uses your question and can even compete for who contributed the most helpful responses.
You will also be able to provide feedback, as either a thumbs-up or thumbs-down, on user responses. You can flag answers you deem incorrect, and there's even a star rating system on the Alexa Answers website.
When will Alexa Answers be available?
It's now available for anyone to try!