>>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
>>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
>>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.