Amazon’s virtual assistant, Alexa, has been accused of sexism after it was unable to correctly answer questions about the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Dr. Joanne Rodda, a senior lecturer in psychiatry at Kent and Medway Medical School, was the first to notice this issue. She asked Alexa about the women’s England-Australia football match taking place on Wednesday (August 16), but Alexa had no knowledge of the match and incorrectly stated that there was no match that day.
Surprised by the response, Dr. Rodda proceeded to ask more questions, this time about the Women’s Super League.
“Out of curiosity, I asked Alexa who the Arsenal football team would be playing in October. It provided information about the men’s team but was unable to answer when I specifically asked about women’s fixtures,” Dr. Rodda explained.
The BBC also conducted the same experiment and obtained similar results to Dr. Rodda’s.
Amazon promptly responded to the accusation and referred to the incident as an error that has now been fixed. A spokesperson from the e-commerce giant explained that when a user asks Alexa a question, it retrieves information from various sources including Amazon, licensed content providers, and websites.
Alexa also utilizes AI-powered automated systems to understand the context of questions and provide relevant information. According to Amazon, the automated systems made an error in this case but are expected to improve over time.
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