(Pocket-lint) - Amazon has launched Alexa Answers in the UK. The feature was previously launched in the US and is a crowdsourcing tool, enabling knowledgeable Alexa users to answer questions that Alexa doesn’t know the answer to yet.
And primarily, that will mean localised or topical information (especially UK-specific stuff) that hasn’t reached Alexa’s database through other means.
Since its US launch a couple of years back, Amazon says that “hundreds of thousands of answers” have been shared. Should you ask Alexa for the answer to a question that’s been contributed by a community member, Alexa will tell you it’s been submitted via Alexa Answers. Submitted answers are still moderated before they reach other Alexa users via their smart speakers or other devices.
You can simply sign into Alexa Answers via your Amazon account and browse questions to answer by category or see the frequently asked questions or the newest asked.
In return for your knowledge, you can earn points and get onto leaderboards - but there’s no tangible reward for your work.
"We're always indexing a tremendous amount of information," says Amazon UK’s Alexa experience manager Dennis Stansbury during a briefing on Alexa Answers with Pocket-lint. "[But] there are lots of like small facts, things that are sometimes don't either sit into a traditional database, aren't available through fact extraction or other sources that we do with ML (machine learning) to try to figure out and so this is a great way to try to fill in those gaps."
We asked Stansbury if Alexa Answers fills in the ‘last 10 percent’ of questions that can’t be answered by other means - the stuff that has slipped through the net. "You can think of it that way," he says, "but the thing you have to think about is that the problems always get harder.
"What people were asking for years ago is drastically different than what they're asking now. As we get better, the demands for what customers can ask is actually changing with that as well. You know before you might not have thought to ask something. But as Alexa has been getting better and you have more confidence, you might ask more and more questions around things that are just outside the bounds. So, in terms of that, we're hoping this helps push us further."