With more than 100 million Alexa devices sold so far, 10,000 Amazon employees work on the smart assistant’s development. Thousands of people focus on building Alexa’s knowledge base while others work on Alexa’s personality, machine learning, interaction, conversational skills, and other technical features, Business Insider reports.
Dave Limp, Amazon Devices senior vice president, told attendees at The Wall Street Journal’s Tech D. Live conference in November 2018 that the number of employees assigned to Alexa development doubled in a year. At the time Limp also said the digital virtual assistant would eventually work in offices, cars, and hotel rooms as well as in homes, according to The Wall Street Journal.
When he was asked about the 10,000-employee assignment figure at the Consumer Electronics Show 2019 in Las Vegas, Amazon’s vice president of Alexa Steve Rabuchin confirmed the statistic.
“That is an accurate number,” Rabuchin told Business Insider at CES 2019. “We’re so bullish on voice as the future. It’s just so early for voice, and Alexa is great, but there’s so much more that we want her to be able to do in terms of being more interactive, more conversational, and just getting better and better and better.”
Rabuchin also broke down, in general terms, the development areas on which the Alexa-focused employees are working.
In addition to groups that focus on artificial intelligence and machine learning, Amazon has significant numbers of people working on Alexa’s ability to answer user questions and on Alexa’s “personality.”
“We have a team that’s just feeding the knowledge base all the time for question and answer, and continuing to just increase what we call the knowledge graph,” Rabuchin said.
The number of customers who own multiple Alexa devices more than doubled in the last year, according to Amazon, which indicates people speak to Alexa for answers to or assistance with a variety of topics.
“I think from the beginning, we had a vision for how useful we wanted Alexa to be and someone who you felt was a bit of a companion, who you could speak naturally to,” Rabuchin continued. “There’s a team that just works on how Alexa behaves, how her personality is formed, and what her preferences are when she gets asked a question.”
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