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Amazon employees listen to customers through Echo products, report finds

USATODAY

Amazon's Echo speakers have a broadcast feature that will help you send a message to family members that might be scattered around the house. If you have an Amazon Echo product, you aren't the only person privy to your private conversations. Thousands of people across the globe are employed by Amazon.com to listen to Echo recordings, transcribe and annotate them and feed them back to the software so that Alexa can better grasp human speech, according to a report from Bloomberg. The employees – ranging from Boston to India – signed nondisclosure agreements barring them to speak publicly about the program. According to Bloomberg, they work nine hours per day, with each reviewer going through as many as 1,000 audio clips per shift.


Amazon staff listen to customers' Alexa recordings, report says

The Guardian

When Amazon customers speak to Alexa, the company's AI-powered voice assistant, they may be heard by more people than they expect, according to a report. Amazon employees around the world regularly listen to recordings from the company's smart speakers as part of the development process for new services, Bloomberg News reports. Some transcribe artist names, linking them to specific musicians in the company's database; others listen to the entire recorded command, comparing it with what the automated systems heard and the response they offered, in order to check the quality of the company's software. Technically, users have given permission for the human verification: the company makes clear that it uses data "to train our speech recognition and natural language understanding systems", and gives users the chance to opt out. But the company doesn't explicitly say that the training will involve workers in America, India, Costa Rica, and more nations around the world listening to those recordings.


An Amazon employee might have listened to your Alexa recording

Engadget

Yes, someone might listen to your Alexa conversations someday. A Bloomberg report has detailed how Amazon employs thousands of full-timers and contractors from around the world to review audio clips from Echo devices. Apparently, these workers transcribe and annotate recordings, which they then feed back into the software to make Alexa smarter than before. The process helps beef up the voice AI's understanding of human speech, especially for non-English-speaking countries or for places with distinctive regional colloquialisms. In French, for instance, an Echo speaker could hear avec sa ("with his" or "with her") as "Alexa" and treat it as a wake word.


Amazon admits employees listen to Alexa conversations

The Independent

Amazon has admitted that employees listen to customer voice recordings from Echo and other Alexa-enabled smart speakers. The online retail giant said its staff "reviewed" a sample of Alexa voice assistant conversations in order to improve speech recognition. "This information helps us train our speech recognition and natural language understanding systems, so Alexa can better understand your requests, and ensure the service works well for everyone," Amazon said in a statement. We'll tell you what's true. You can form your own view.


Walmart battles online retail by adding more robots to its stores

Engadget

Brick and mortar stores have been hit hard by online retailers like Amazon. Walmart (which has its own online presence) believes it has an answer to dwindling sales. Its solution, robots that take care of mundane jobs (like cleaning up spills) while its staff spends their time helping customers. The retailer announced today that it will deploy 1,500 new "Auto-C" autonomous floor cleaners, 300 "Auto-S" shelf scanners and an additional 1,200 "FAST" unloaders to scan and sort items as they come off delivery trucks. Plus to streamline online orders, it'll have 900 "Pickup Towers" so customers can order something on the company's site and just pick up it up from a vending machine at their nearest Walmart.


New – AWS Deep Learning Containers Amazon Web Services

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We want to make it as easy as possible for you to learn about deep learning and to put it to use in your applications. If you know how to ingest large datasets, train existing models, build new models, and to perform inferences, you'll be well-equipped for the future! New Deep Learning Containers Today I would like to tell you about the new AWS Deep Learning Containers. These Docker images are ready to use for deep learning training or inferencing using TensorFlow or Apache MXNet, with other frameworks to follow. We built these containers after our customers told us that they are using Amazon EKS and ECS to deploy their TensorFlow workloads to the cloud, and asked us to make that task as simple and straightforward as possible.


Your Online-Shopping Experience Was Grown in a Lab

The Atlantic

As you scroll through a website--say, TheAtlantic.com--you're Your eyes dart from headline to headline, bypassing a few before choosing which to read. Your brow furrows at one article. Your face flushes in anger when you watch a charged video on an issue important to you. Usually, all these physical cues go nowhere other than the reflection of your computer screen.


Eye on A.I.-- Tracing A.I. Breakthroughs From Mars to Earth

#artificialintelligence

If you need convincing that artificial intelligence will transform the world, I'd like to take you on a trip to Mars. Well, not the planet, but Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos's annual invite-only MARS conference last week in Palm Springs that takes its name from its focus on machine learning, automation, robotics, and space. Over 200 of the world's leading scientists and technologists gathered to discuss their latest far-out research, a nerve-racking experience for those who presented in front of Bezos himself. A.I., and its ability to make sense of data, was a common theme. But while it's easy to dream about the future of A.I., and all the benefits it will supposedly bring, our present day version has room for improvement.


Industrial Applications of Machine Learning (Chapman & Hall/CRC Data Mining and Knowledge Discovery Series): Pedro Larrañaga, David Atienza, Javier Diaz-Rozo, Alberto Ogbechie, Carlos Esteban Puerto-Santana, Concha Bielza: 9780815356226: Amazon.com: Books

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Pedro Larrañaga is Full Professor in Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM) since 2007, where he co-leads the Computational Intelligence Group. He received the MSc degree in mathematics (statistics) from the University of Valladolid and the PhD degree in computer science from the University of the Basque Country (excellence award). Before moving to UPM, his academic career was developed at the University of the Basque Country (UPV-EHU) at several faculty ranks: Assistant Professor (1985-1998), Associate Professor (1998-2004) and Full Professor (2004-2007). He earned the habilitation qualification for Full Professor in 2003. Professor Larrañaga has served as Expert Manager of Computer Technology area at the Deputy Directorate of research projects of the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (2007-2010).


Is Artificial Intelligence wasting our money? - KDR Recruitment

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If you are anything like me, you will have become addicted to online shopping. And like me your addiction might have led you to questioning if you are buying things unnecessarily. So, as Black Friday creeps around the corner, I thought I would do some digging to see how Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are spending our money for us. With Google purchasing'DeepMind Technologies', an artificial intelligence company founded back in September 2010, we are certainly seeing how their technology is impacting online shopping. Have you ever been on your phone and spontaneously googled'Flights to Dubai' or'Green flips flops with pink roses' and next thing it is all over your Facebook and Instagram feeds?