Amazon Alexa virtual assistant

Alexa is a 'virtual assistant' developed by Amazon uses natural language processing and speech recognition technologies to enable users to ask questions and receive answers, get traffic alerts, set alarms, make lists, play music, and other things. 

Launched in 2014 and available in multiple countries and languages, Alexa was first used in Amazon's Echo and Echo Dot smart speakers, and later in its Echo Studio and other products.

Operator: Amazon; Alison Hall-O’Neil; Brandon Jackson; Kristin Livdahl; Megan Neitzel; Oliver Haberstroh; Steve Altes
Developer: Amazon
Country: Germany; UK; USA
Sector: Consumer goods
Purpose: Provide information, services
Technology: NLP/text analysis; Natural language understanding (NLU); Speech recognition
Issue: Accuracy/reliability; Mis/disinformation; Privacy; Safety; Security; Surveillance
Transparency: Governance; Marketing; Privacy

Risks and harms 🛑

Alexa is seen to pose a wide range of potential risks and caused actual harms to its users, including the unreliability and inappropriate behaviour of its product, opaque governance, supply chain management and the abuse of privacy, inadequate safety and security, and perceived gender and racial stereotyping and bias.

Legal, regulatory 👩🏼‍⚖️

Page info
Type: System
Published: September 2023