How Amazon Convinced Millions of People to Welcome “Listening Devices” Into Their Homes | FRONTLINE

How Amazon Convinced Millions of People to Welcome “Listening Devices” Into Their Homes | FRONTLINE

>>NARRATOR: The voice known as Alexa would embed Amazon deeper
into the lives of millions of people.
>>Alexa, what do you do?>>I can play music, answer
questions, get the news and weather.
>>They call it a personal assistant, and just that term
implies this intimate connection that we then begin to develop
with Amazon.>>Alexa, sing the ABC song.
>>♪ A, B, C, D, E, F… ♪>>I believe that when we think
about the future and the future with artificial intelligence,
given where we currently are today, Alexa in some ways
represents the moment that it becomes seamlessly interwoven
with our lives.>>Alexa, how many teaspoons are
in a tablespoon?>>One tablespoon equals three
teaspoons.>>Oh, okay.
>>And the problem is that we forget that it’s there.
>>Alexa, lights on.>>Okay.
>>NARRATOR: But Alexa is also listening– and she’s learning.
>>I’m answering questions and learning more.
>>NARRATOR: And that helps Amazon in the race to dominate
artificial intelligence.>>Alexa…
>>Every time you ask Alexa something, you’re making the
Alexa algorithm better. It’s one of the reasons why
Amazon, having had a head start, is able to kind of preserve that
head start, because they’ve got the most data of anyone.
>>Alexa is one more way for Amazon to gather extremely
valuable data. And this data collection is
extremely important to this business model.
It’s extremely hard to do, and, you know, convincing people to
just deploy something like this in their home is a brilliant
trick.>>NARRATOR: Dave Limp is
Amazon’s head of devices.>>How is it that you
convinced tens of millions of people to put what is
essentially a, a listening device in their homes?
>>Well, I, I would first disagree with the premise.
It doesn’t, it’s not a listening device.
The, the device in its core is…
It has a detector on it. We call it internally a
“wake-word engine.” And that detector is
listening– not really listening– it’s detecting one
thing and one thing only, which is the word you’ve said that you
want to get the attention of that Echo.
>>NARRATOR: Once the device is awake and the blue light is on,
it’s recording. And last year, it was revealed
that Amazon employs thousands of people around the world to
listen and transcribe some of those recordings to help train
the system.>>Do you think that you
did a good enough job of disclosing that to consumers?
That, that there are humans involved in listening to these
recordings?>>We, we try to articulate what
we’re doing with our products as clearly as we can.
But if I could go back in time, and I could be more clear, and
the team could be more clear, on how we were using human beings
to annotate a small percentage of the data, I would, for sure.
What I would say, though, is that once we realized that
customers didn’t clearly understand this, and within a
couple of days, we added an opt-out feature, so that
customers could turn off annotation if they, if they so
chose. And then within a month or two
later, we allowed people to auto-delete data, which they
also asked for within that, within that time frame.
You know, we’re not going to always be perfect, but when we
make mistakes, I think the key is that we correct them very
quickly on behalf of customers.>>NARRATOR: But even one of the
founders of Amazon Web Services approaches his Alexa devices
with caution.>>When do you turn off
your Alexa?>>I turn off my Alexa when I
know for a fact that the conversation that I am going to
have, or, or whenever I just want to have a private moment.
I don’t want certain conversations to be heard by
humans, conversations that I know for a fact are not things
that should not be shared, then I actually turn off those
particular listening devices.>>We have had an incredible
year. The team has invented a lot on
behalf of customers, and I cannot wait to show you what we
have.>>NARRATOR: So far, Limp and
his team have made Alexa compatible with more than
100,000 products.>>Echo Frames allow you to get
done more around you and be more present in the everyday.
>>Now they’re going to know more about you than anyone
knows. They’re trying to move as
intimately as possible and as quietly as possible into
everyday life.>>Echo Loop is a smart ring,
packed with ways to stay on top of your day.
>>Amazon wants to have the entire environment essentially
miked.>>Alexa, start my running
playlist.>>They want your walk in the
park, they want your run down the city street.
>>Nationwide’s teamed up with Amazon to bring you the all-new
Echo Auto.>>They want what you do in your
car, they want what you do in your home.
>>Amazon Smart Oven.>>Alexa, bake for 30 minutes at
350 degrees. (oven beeps)
>>All these intimacies, all this insight is being
integrated, analyzed and integrated.
>>Alexa, alarm off.>>That is an extraordinary kind
of power that has never before existed.

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100 thoughts on “How Amazon Convinced Millions of People to Welcome “Listening Devices” Into Their Homes | FRONTLINE

  1. Only fools buy that product,but all electronics listen and video everything around them, microwave, radio, TV, phone, refrigerator, Bluetooth speaker etc we have no privacy.

  2. Remember ‘Amazon Key’ were a smart lock (which YOU pay $250 for) grants drivers access to your home to drop-off parcels so that Amazon doesn’t get stuck with replacement/refund costs… thank god people saw through that!.

  3. I can't believe these caught on at all maybe if you're a paraplegic or something, but how could any able-bodied person want McSnooper in their house?

  4. People are just getting fucking lazy… if I asked my girlfriend or mom to “turn on the lights” or “microwave me something” they’d rightly say DO IT YOURSELF!.

  5. Reading some of these comments really makes me think of something my uncle always used to say. "God forbid your games stop working, then you'll be forced to go outside and actually make something". That saying is too true and means more than just the words.

  6. Everything thing comes with a price!
    In the case of Alex or Siri or Android, the price is your privacy or should I say lack of!

  7. yeah, it's scary, it's dystopian, it's Nazi's in your bedroom Jewguy and girl – but Amazon pays $13.00 per hour to thousands to work in their warehouses – and You Mr. American Consumer are above that – so, bring it on mentality kicks the dead guy under the rug – BURN!

  8. Wow! And I always thought that there is 2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoon. I'm still not going to buy an Alexis. No way, never, will I allow very powerful people to have access to my private life.

  9. Dave Limp Sr. VP Device and Services, Amazon at 2:06 describes Alexa as "listening" er I mean "not really listening" Glad he did a good job of articulating what Amazon does with their products. With a smirk on his face. If I could turn back time and clearly annotate how humans are used to analyze the data I would. Always-on speakers clearly gives Amazon an unfair advantage and much insight into our daily lives.

  10. Fascinating video! I don't have this device but I do have Alexa on my Fire TV and I use Google voice on my phone. This is very disturbing to think about how this data is and will be used.

  11. No thank you. Its intrusive, snooping, and invasive into what should be a private space. The device is always listening…think about that for a minute, its recording everything…

  12. Most people own a mobile or smartphone. What's the difference? It has a mic. Mobile eavesdropping seems much more worrisome.

  13. Instead of asking when do you turn off Alexa, it should be when do you turn ON Alexa. Do these ppl also leave their irons plugin …just in case they need to iron their clothes???

  14. Not even a full 3 seconds listening to Amazon's guy and I already had to pause. I will never be able to bullshit like these people. The ability to remove any sense of right and wrong as you deliberately spew misleading statements and complete BS never ceases to amaze

  15. Um…we all tell facebook even more. And we've been "listened" to since we made a google account with our phones….dipshits.
    Oh and doorbell cams…gps…even zuckerberg shuts off his mic and tapes over his cameras….

  16. NEVER . not even SIRI they do control ,spy , influence no difference as Huwei ..they all do . even you Mic or Cam on a phone ,laptop,pad …..they do .And luckily here in the EU amazon is shit ( till when i know) .

  17. So basically it's a conspiracy theory until mainstream media can run the story themselves but by then it's conveniently too late.

  18. What a terrible concept. They want to turn us into robots. Turn your own oven on. Stop allowing a device to do your thinking for you. This technology is DANGEROUS !!!

  19. Any one of you has put one of these spy devices in your house Just know that you're an idiot.

    Amazon has a 600 million dollar deal with the CIA. And Bezos sits on a pentagon board.

  20. These devices, whether Alexa, Siri or Google, hear and record EVERYTHING going on within range of the microphone in your house. If you are having a personal conversation, they hear that. If you are talking about your finances, they hear that. If you are having an argument, they hear that. If you happen to be watching adult entertainment, they hear that. If you and your spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend are having a romantic encounter, they hear that. All this data is going back to the people who sold you these devices. They resell a lot of that data to third parties, either directly or perhaps anonymized and indirectly

    And try an experiment. If you have one of these devices that turns off with a voice command, tell it to do that. Then tell it to turn itself on again. If it responds by turning itself on again based on your voice command, it was still listening to what is going on in your home, even if it is supposed to be "off". If so, you just PAID SOMEONE to put a powerful surveillance device in your home.

  21. When it comes to personal privacy, the most voiced words: "What are you hiding, what do you care, I never do anything to have to worry"
    What they listen to and do with this data is beyond scary, however, DATA is not the commodity, YOU are!

  22. This guy is stammering through many responses to the questions put to him. Reason enough not to trust anything he or the company says about themselves.

  23. I don't need a device to think for me. Are we so lazy that we cannot turn an on/off switch, or change a channel without a stupid device??? I cannot stand talking to phone computers, and I certainly don't want to talk to an electronic device in my own home. Hell to the NO.

  24. Anyone saying they will never get this in their homes already has one in their pocket. You think Alexa is the only thing constantly listening? Lol grow up. Also what are you doing that's so private? Alexa can watch me jerk off all she wants hahaha

  25. Alexa can you please order myself and my family hand injected RFID CHIPS for our protection. The dumbing down of the American public is a complete success.

  26. On top of this crap,Just wait until this is hacked by criminals and used for blackmail.Or corrupt politicians to collect power.

  27. How are we certain that Alexa is strictly waiting for you to say her name so it can turn on its microphone, the answer is we don't, we've become obsessed with "convenience & what I want" therefore this kind of reality is inevitable/the price to pay

  28. We as a society are more concerned about our selfish convenience than anything else and you can't blame corporations for granting our wishes

  29. this is bad….alexa is a device ..which will record and analyse you and send data to the big tech…amazon…google…this is complete invasion of privacy at your own will!!!!!!! how dumb are these people?

  30. Lol. 'It's not listening, it's detecting…and when it's detecting it's listening…umm…ooops…uhhh…awwww shit….'

  31. Couldn't agree more with the comments here. I will never own one of these devices. I am grateful to the technology advancements that have been made . This is a bridge too far . I didnt need to see this video or news article too know that it is a stupid idea to bring a recording device into your house and just " trusting" the system…

  32. If you do anything online…they already have all your data. It has all been bought and sold ten times over. As far as these type of devices go..well the day the FBI shows up at your door because Alexa heard you say something is the same day you won't have a choice about this being in your home. The future is being shoved down our throats whether we like it or not.

  33. How is a Alexa device that's only in your home any worse than the cell phones that everybody caries with them at all times that is recording your voice,location, search history etc ?

  34. like all draconian nonsense today, its just had a family friendly face slapped onto it, but its still what they used to call a bug, its main purpose is to listen in on conversations and record.

  35. "Ill never have one of these in my home!!" Says the people who post all of their personal details on Facebook, every though on Twitter, and carries that cell phone everywhere they go.

  36. My brother is a sucker for this kind of crap. He tried to convince me to buy one, but every time I was about to buy it, common sense just prevailed. I mean what's the point of having this device. To tell me time. To turn off the lights. Are we that lazy that we can't even hit the switch off? The first time I researched Alexa, I told my brother: Amazon should be giving these devices for free, or better yet, they should be paying people to have them in their homes.

  37. Alexa listening into our homes and cars should be required for every US citizen so that if anyone ever yells angrily at a child or other family members or roommates, they could be arrested and made to spend a night in jail. In fact, we should be required to wear one on our chest so that all of our conversations are recorded. No more "He said, she said." We'll have actual footage whenever anyone is accused of a crime or improper behavior. No one need be punished beyond a 24 hour "time out." We could all learn from our mistakes instead of getting away with denial and repeated cruelty.

  38. Didn't "Alexa" help solve the Watts murder in CO? Idk, I'd put one in my house just for the security. It beats being hacked like those ppl who had RING cameras.. (I just wouldn't order it or buy it bc I've never ordered via Amazon; I wouldn't bank online!)

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