In 2016, Amazon launched an annual prize for computer science students, with the aim of improving Alexa’s conversational abilities. Users can say “let’s chat” and participate in the experiment. However, while there have been improvements to Alexa, Reuters learned that the experiment produced some very dark moments too.
But Alexa’s gaffes are alienating others, and Bezos on occasion has ordered staff to shut down a bot, three people familiar with the matter said. The user who was told to whack his foster parents wrote a harsh review on Amazon’s website, calling the situation “a whole new level of creepy.” A probe into the incident found the bot had quoted a post without context from Reddit, the social news aggregation site, according to the people.