Amazon patents 'voice-sniffing' personality profiling algorithm 

Occurred: March 2018

Amazon plans to build personality profiles on users of its Alexa voice assistant, drawing sharp criticism from digital rights and privacy advocates.

According to a patent application filed by Amazon, the company said it could use advanced artificial intelligence 'voice sniffer algorithm' to allow Alexa to listen to a conversation and analyse it for certain words that are said. Trigger words such as 'like', 'love' and 'hate' would build profiles on users to better target them with advertising and product recommendations.

'The identified keywords can be stored and/or transmitted to an appropriate location accessible to entities such as advertisers or content providers who can use the keywords to attempt to select or customise content that is likely relevant to the user,' the patent said. 

'We file patent applications on a variety of ideas that our employees come up with. Some of those ideas later mature into real products or services, some don't. Prospective product announcements should not necessarily be inferred from our patent applications,' Amazon said.

Developer: Amazon
Country: USA
Sector: Business/professional services
Purpose: Profile customer personality
Technology: Voice sniffer algorithm
Issue: Privacy; Surveillance

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