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The Science Behind Amazon’s Digital Assistant, Alexa

a brown speaker on the table
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Amazon’s Alexa is one of the numerous digital assistants that contribute to the wonder of our modern world. Nowadays, you can control virtually everything in your house with the power of your voice.

But have you ever begun to wonder how this incredible piece of technology works? We’ll delve into the inner workings of your favorite digital assistant.

Alexa is available on a variety of devices, the most common of which are smartphones and Echo smart speakers. Amazon’s Echo devices are primarily simple—a speaker, a small computer, and internet access.

Most Echo speakers don’t have enough space or technology to house a complicated artificial intelligence, so how does Alexa respond to questions?

It’s all thanks to the internet, as with so many things these days. When you ask your Alexa-enabled device to do something, it records your request and sends it to Amazon’s voice recognition service.

This service, known as Alexa Voice Service (AVS), recognizes what you’re asking for and quickly sends the appropriate information back to your device, where it is played through the speakers.

Your Echo devices gave some voice recognition technology, but not much. Most of these devices are trained to respond to a single word at a time and are constantly on the lookout for it.

This wake phrase is set to Alexa by default, but you can alter it to other words such as Echo, Amazon, or Laptop. When you say this word, the small computer component of your Echo devices activates and begins recording your query for transmission to the AVS.

The question is – Is Alexa constantly listening to you?

With any device like this, there’s a fear that you’re constantly being noted and monitored. The truth is that Alexa and your Echo devices pose little threat to you. Echo devices are always listening for you, but only for one particular wake word that you’ve already programmed into them.

Where Does Alexa Get Her Data From?

It’s great that your questions are being sent to the AVS, but how does it get the information you’ve requested? That is determined by your request. Any request that Amazon has pre-planned will almost certainly use an API or possibly built-in software to determine your response.

If you ask for information that the AVS hasn’t trained for, it will conduct a Bing search. In these cases, the response is preceded by “Here’s something I found on the internet,” indicating that the information isn’t coming directly from Amazon.

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